ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rethinking India's Coal-Power Technology Trajectory

The key challenges faced by the coal-power sector in India - significantly enhancing generation to meet the needs of a growing economy and to increase energy access while looking ahead at the climate mitigation issue - require a rethink of the country's coal-power technology trajectory. An explicitly "bifurcated" technology strategy, wherein using imported coal with high-efficiency global technologies (adapted to Indian operating conditions), will serve as a complement to the existing pathway of adapting such technologies for Indian coals. A successful deal between Annex I countries and India for increase in coal imports and expanding technological options may set a model for constructive North-South collaboration on climate change.

Making the Best Use of India's Coal Resources

The importance of coal for the future of the Indian power sector cannot be overstated. Yet, the extractable coal reserves in the country are estimated to last only 50 to 60 years under current techno-economic conditions. Given that current power plants are operating at efficiencies far from optimum, there is an enormous scope for improvement. Thus, a national efficiency mission, modelled after the existing renovation and modernisation programme, must be directed towards raising power-plant efficiencies across the country, thereby ensuring better use of this finite resource. In addition, a focused vision must be developed to strategically deploy cleaner and more efficient coal technologies.
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