State miner Coal India has approved as many as 32 new coal mining projects worth a total investment of US$6.4 billion, as one of the world’s largest coal consumers looks to reduce reliance on imports as its coal demand continues to grow.
A total of 24 of the 32 projects will be for the expansion of existing operations, while eight will be greenfield projects, Indian media quoted the company as saying this week.
The combined incremental peak capacity of these projects is expected at 193 million tons per year, which is a record capacity addition for Coal India in its history.
While major developed economies look to reduce reliance on coal as part of emission reduction goals, India, which will be the key driver of global energy demand in the coming decades, continues to rely heavily on coal, and its demand is expected to continue to rise.
Despite its renewable and low-carbon push, India continues to bet big on coal, and the share of coal in total primary energy consumed has been broadly stable, around 56 percent in recent years, according to BP’s Energy Outlook 2020.
India’s lockdown to contain the pandemic reduced its coal demand last year, but coal use is anticipated to increase by 3.8 percent this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its annual Coal 2020 report in December.
“In the medium term (to 2025), India has one of the highest potentials to increase coal consumption as electricity demand rises and more steel and cement are required for infrastructure projects,” the IEA said.
In the energy mix in India, coal accounts for 70 percent, while the country is expected to be the biggest driver of global energy demand over the next 20 years as its population continues to increase fast and affluence spreads, the IEA said in a report last month.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.