India’s historic drop in coal-based power generation is most likely a one-off: Report

India’s coal-based power generation recorded its first fall in 29 years in 2019 but the fall was likely a one-off event caused by the combination of a large reduction in demand growth and weather-driven increase in hydro generation while wind and solar also played a role, according to a latest study.

“Coal-fired generation fell 3 per cent. However, coal still contributes 72 per cent to the Indian electricity mix, and India is still building new coal plants. In 2019, GEM data shows there was 8 GW of new coal capacity brought online, with almost no old coal plants closed,” the report by Ember, a London-based think tank, said.

The 3 per cent fall in coal-based generation also pulled down carbon-dioxide emission from the power sector by 3 per cent in 2019, the report said, adding, wind and solar will become much more important in time.

“Solar generation saw strong growth, although not-so for wind generation. New solar capacity installed did set a record with 12 GW installed in 2019. Wind generation grew at the lowest rate since 2015 and new wind installations fell for the second year running,” the report by the think tank, formerly known as Sandbag, said.

According to the report, Global Electricity Review, Indian electricity demand grew by only 0.8 per cent in 2019 compared to an average annual increase of 7 per cent per year from 2010 to 2018.

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