New Delhi, February 15 As renewable energy sources gain prominence in India’s power generation, the share of coal is projected to decline to 69 per cent by 2025 from 74 per cent at present

“While total coal-fired generation is set to rise to 2025, we expect its share to fall to 69 per cent in the generation mix in 2025, as the share of renewables reaches 25 per cent,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its latest report.

Coal-fired generation rose by 7.7 per cent in 2022, while gas-fired output fell by 36 per cent in 2022 due to higher imported gas prices, it added.

Because of higher coal-fired generation, total power generation CO2 emissions is likely to rise by 8 per cent from 2022 levels by 2025, despite falling CO2 intensity.

The agency also expects an increase in India’s nuclear power generation capacity. “We expect nuclear output to rise by over 80 per cent during the forecast period, to 83 terawatt hour (TWh), but to remain a small component at 4 per cent of the mix in 2025,” it added.

Rising RE capacity

At present, coal accounts for 50 per cent of India’s total installed power capacity of 410 gigawatts (GW). Overall, thermal power generation capacity is around 236 GW. Besides, 52 GW is from hydro, 115 GW from RE, and 6.8 GW from nuclear power plants.

“The retirement of coal power plants has lagged over the years with about 14 GW of the capacity initially scheduled for closure over the 2017-2022 period still in operation and used for balancing purposes,” the IEA report pointed out.

The government is taking actions to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy (RE) capacity, in line with the target of 500 GW of non-fossil capacity by 2030 announced in the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

The government established a plan for the integration of this additional capacity within the transmission grid that includes grid expansions and additional storage capacity. Further, as per Central Electricity Authority (CEA), about 3 GW of thermal power capacity planned for retirement by 2030, will potentially be replaced with equivalent renewable energy capacity.

Dominance of coal

Electricity demand from April to July was 14 per cent Y-o-Y higher and heatwaves led to a record peak power demand of 211 GW on 10 June 2022, IEA said.

The sharp growth in summer demand was primarily met by coal-fired generation, which registered a significant year-on-year growth of 21.3 per cent in April-July 2022 from April-July 2021, it added.

Following this, India experienced coal supply shortages and the Power Ministry directed state Gencos and independent power producers to meet a 10 per cent blending requirement. This was required to ensure adequate coal stocks before the onset of monsoons. In August 2022, the government withdrew these blending requirements when adequate stock levels at power plants were reached.