Coal power here to stay in India says energy minister

India’s energy minister has said coal-fired power will continue to be a “mainstay” of his country’s generation mix, and that environmental issues will not be compromised.

In a speech ahead of India’s announcement of its climate pledge to the UN, due this week from all countries that will participate in the Paris climate talks in December, Piyush Goyal (pictured) said the nation will “largely” feature modern, efficient coal-fired power plants by 2030, and that emissions from these plants can be kept low with the use of “innovative technologies”.

He said the state-owned mining firm Coal India Ltd will produce 1 bn tonnes of coal by 2020, and that the government is committed to setting up washeries “on a massive scale” to wash 250 mt of coal in the next three years.

He added that the government now uses third-party sampling to check coal quality, with “not a single complaint … from any state or power plant” over the previous year. He also promised that the coal ministry will “ask the coal controller to reassess the grades of all coal mines”.

According to Goyal, the coal ministry is currently working on a policy framework to liberalize coal linkages with infrastructure firms in order to bring down power costs. More accurate coal grading and permission for intra-company linkages will generate significant savings for India’s power consumers, he said.  

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