Why is it in the news?
- International Energy Agency releases ‘Coal 2023 Analysis and Forecast to 2026’
About the Findings
- The analysis indicates a foreseen surge in the demand for coal in two of the world’s most populous countries, India and China. This demand is likely driven by industrialization, urbanization, and sustained economic growth.
- In contrast, advanced economies, such as those in the European Union and the United States, are expected to witness a substantial decrease in coal demand, projecting a drop of approximately 20% in the year 2023. This decline aligns with the global shift towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.
- Projections for 2026 highlight India and Southeast Asia as the primary regions where coal consumption is expected to experience significant growth.
|Significance of Coal in India
· Coal plays a pivotal role in India’s energy landscape, constituting 55% of the country’s total energy requirements. This heavy reliance on coal is substantiated by India’s abundant coal reserves, ranking as the fifth-largest in the world.
· The immediate transition from coal to alternative energy sources presents several challenges for India. These challenges include:
· Threat to Energy Security: With a burgeoning demand for electricity to fuel India’s economic growth, a rapid transition away from coal poses a potential threat to the country’s energy security.
· Job Loss Concerns: The shift away from coal could result in the loss of over 7.25 lakh (725,000) direct jobs in the coal-related industries, posing a significant socio-economic challenge.
Initiatives to Improve Coal Efficiency
· To address the challenges associated with coal usage, several initiatives have been implemented to enhance the efficiency of coal-based power generation in India.
· The mandatory adoption of supercritical technology for Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) aims to improve the efficiency of coal-based power plants.
· The Ministry of Coal has set an ambitious target of gasifying 100 Million Tonnes (MT) of coal by 2030. This initiative aims to diversify the use of coal and reduce environmental impacts.
· Efforts are underway to modernize old thermal power plants, enhancing their efficiency and reducing environmental impact.
· Installation of advanced technologies such as Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs) to capture Fly ash and low NOx burners to minimize nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
· Implemented by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, the Perform Achieve Trade (PAT) scheme focuses on improving energy efficiency in industries. By incentivizing and trading energy savings, the scheme indirectly contributes to a reduction in coal consumption.