Coal is king in India—and will likely remain so – by Samantha Gross (Brookings Education Blog – March 8, 2019)

In conversations about avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, removing coal from the world’s energy system is always at the top of the list of solutions.

Here in the United States, inexpensive natural gas has out-competed coal in the power system, bringing about a 40 percent decline in coal-fired generation over the last decade. However, coal is still king in other parts of the world.

India’s ambitious renewable energy goals have received a lot of international attention, but coal still provides half of India’s commercial primary energy and is the dominant fuel for power generation. In “Coal in India: Adjusting to transition,” Rahul Tongia and I state that we expect coal to remain the dominant fuel in the power sector in India, through 2030 and beyond.

Despite its dominant position in the Indian energy market, the Indian coal industry still faces structural and financial challenges. Additionally, the Indian power system is riddled with inefficiencies and distortions, from coal mining through final power sales to consumers.

Coal India Limited (CIL), which provides about 85 percent of India’s domestic production of coal, is the world’s largest coal mining company. Coal is central to India’s political economy.

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