SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI: India expects its power plants to burn about 8% more coal in the fiscal year ending March 2024, according to a senior government official and a power ministry presentation, after the country missed its 2022 renewable energy goal by more than 30%.
The world’s third-largest energy consumer and emitter of greenhouse gases has been clinging to coal for energy security as it tries to get its economy back on track after a COVID slowdown and stave off power shortages that led to idled factories and villages without electricity during a blistering heatwave.
India expects utilities’ coal demand to reach 821 million tonnes in 2023-24, according to the presentation. The government official said that would be about 8% more than demand during this fiscal year.
Two government officials familiar with the matter said that because of COVID constraints, India added only 120 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy to its power grid by 2022, short of its target of 175 GW.
At the same time, an uptick in economic activity and the heatwave during the first quarter triggered a surge in power demand – an increase the government expects to persist in 2023-24, according to the senior official and the presentation, seen by Reuters.
India is expected to produce 1,255 terawatt-hours (tWh) of power using coal in 2023-24, the official said, compared with 1,180 tWh of power from coal this fiscal year. The government hopes to add 16 GW of renewable energy in the next fiscal year, a 13% increase in current installed capacity.