The Coal Ministry in a bid to reduce carbon footprint has directed coal and lignite mining PSUs to increasingly adopt renewable energy with the sector aiming to add 9 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy by the end of the decade.

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At present, the combined solar capacity installed by leading coal companies, including Coal India (CIL), NLC India (NLCIL) and Singareni Collieries Company (SCCL) stands at around 1700 megawatt (MW), supplemented by an additional 51 MW from wind mills, the Ministry said.

“Looking towards the future, the coal sector aims to ramp up renewable energy capacity to over 9 GW by the year 2030, signalling a profound commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship,” it added.

Besides, innovative plans are underway to develop solar parks within the reclaimed mining areas as well as other suitable lands, leveraging underutilised land resources for sustainable energy generation.

In order to minimise carbon footprints of mining, the Ministry has issued directives to coal companies to accelerate adoption of solar energy solutions. This includes installation of rooftop solar panels on all government buildings and establishment of solar projects in de-coaled areas and other suitable lands, effectively harnessing solar potential in previously utilized spaces.

The Ministry has als initiated Pump Storage Projects (PSP) in de-coaled coal mines to diversify energy sources. This aims to utilize solar energy for hydroelectricity, promoting sustainable development in the coal sector.

De-coaled mines offer viable sites for PSPs due to the availability of a lower reservoir, water head, and land. CIL and NLCIL are conducting feasibility studies on pump storage projects (PSPs).

CIL has identified 24 abandoned mines and other sites. Stakeholder consultations are ongoing to finalize business models like EPC and PPP, with plans for collaboration with state governments, private players, and research institutions.

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The Ministry has also joined hands with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to take up projects on Green Ammonia/Hydrogen. CIL has identified surplus land parcels for feasibility study.