India looks towards a green future
Solar energy is gaining momentum in India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to make huge steps towards improving the country’s green footprint. Solar energy prices have plummeted to a record low and for the first time ever, it is available at a cheaper cost than fossil fuel generated power. With the United States leaving the Paris Climate Agreement refusing to play by the rules, India is hoping to progress as the new global leader on climate change.
India is now dedicated to the rules in the Paris Agreement which proposes that the country should generate at least 40% of its electricity from other sources other than fossil fuels by 2030. Earlier this year, the Indian government planned for 270 new coal plants to be built, however, these plans have since been scrapped as they conflicted with the rules in the Paris Agreement.
Following the ever-growing influence of solar energy, Coal India, the largest coal mining firm has revealed the closure of 37 of its mines this month due to it becoming no longer financially viable. The mines are set to be decommissioned in March next year and will help save the firm approximately £98 million.
Coal India currently produce around 82% of India’s coal, but if the cost of renewable energy continues to fall at such a pace, India could be entirely free of coal mining by 2050. By 2022, the government is looking to put a stop to any more coal plants being built with the aim for renewables to be generating 57% of India’s energy by 2027, highlighted in India’s draft electricity plan. This exceeds the target set in the Paris Agreement showing that India is willing to go above and beyond in climate change.
According to analyst Mr Buckley: “Measures taken by the Indian Government to improve energy efficiency coupled with ambitious renewable energy targets and the plummeting cost of solar has had an impact on existing as well as proposed coal fired power plants, rendering an increasing number as financially unviable.’’
India is currently overtaking China as the nation with the most deaths created by air pollution largely caused by coal plants with around 1.1 million citizens dying each year. It is hoped that solar power will transform the global energy market and tackle the issue of air pollution looming over the nation, creating a healthier and more energy efficient environment for its citizens.