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India doubles down on coal as heatwave worsens power crisis – Times of India

MUMBAI: India is planning to reopen more than 100 coal mines previously considered financially unsustainable, a government official said on Friday, as a power crisis forces the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter to double down on the dirty fuel.
The country’s electricity demand touched a record high in April as nearly three in four of India’s 1.35 billion people endured the hottest pre-summer months in decades.
Surging use of air conditioning triggered the worst power crisis in more than six years last month, and though temperatures have eased in recent days, they are forecast to rocket again soon.
“Earlier we were hailed as bad boys because we were promoting fossil fuel and now we are in the news that we are not supplying enough of it,” coal secretary Anil Kumar Jain told a conference aimed at attracting more private players into coal mining.
“Given that background, this is a very courageous move by the ministry and Coal India to offer very quickly large supplies of coal.”
The world’s second-largest producer, importer and consumer of coal after China now expects additional output of 75-100 million tonnes of the fuel in the next two-to-three years from the reopened mines, Jain said.
India produced 777.2 million tonnes of the fuel in the year ended March 31 and burnt over a billion tonnes.
The power minister last month asked states to continue importing coal for the next three years, citing domestic coal shortages and higher demand. His ministry has also evoked an emergency law in a bid to restart generation at some idle power plants meant to use imported coal and not operating because of financial reasons.
Global coal prices have cooled from near-record highs this week but remain elevated compared with 2021 levels due to fears of a supply crunch following the European Union’s decision to ban coal imports from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
State-run Coal India, the world’s largest coal miner, accounts for 80% of India’s output and wants to increase its annual production by 60% to 1 billion tonnes by 2024.
India also has big plans to generate more electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind, but experts say the developing country is not ready to dial back on coal yet.

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