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India To Boost Coal Power Capacity by the Most in Six Years

India expects to add a large chunk of coal-fired power capacity in 2024, which will be the largest yearly rise in its coal fleet in at least six years.

Indian utilities will bring online coal power plants with a combined capacity of 13.9 gigawatts (GW) this year, India’s power ministry told Reuters in a statement on Thursday, as the country continues to rely on coal to meet its growing power demand.  

“In the next 18 months, about 19,600 MW (megawatts of) capacity is likely to be commissioned,” the power ministry said in a statement to Reuters on Thursday.

Of the new coal capacity planned over the next 18 months, around 13.9 GW are likely to be commissioned this year alone.

The jump in capacity of India’s coal fleet is set be more than four times the annual average in the last five years, according to estimates by Reuters.

To compare, India commissioned 4 GW of coal power capacity last year, which was the highest annual increase since 2019.

Coal still accounts for around 70% of India’s electricity mix and the country is expanding its coal production and coal power fleet capacity to meet demand as urbanization increases and as the economy grows at one of the highest rates among the developing economies.

For example, state power giant NTPC Ltd, the largest power generator in the country, plans to boost its green energy projects with green hydrogen and renewable power capacity, but it’s also investing in new coal-fired electricity.

While planning for more green energy investments, NTPC is also pursuing new coal-fired capacity and plans 16.8 GW of new coal plants in the country in the next three years, the company’s Finance Director Jaikumar Srinivasan told reporters on an earnings call this week, as carried by Bloomberg.

The coal and renewables energy plans of India’s biggest utility underscore the country’s dilemma in looking to reduce emissions and at the same time, meet growing power demand and peak loads.  

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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