The India Energy Outlook 2021 report of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said energy use in India has doubled since 2000, with 80% of demand still being met by coal, oil and solid biomass.
- Pandemic-related disruptions, however, prevented the stock-up of coal. Mining operations were halted to curb the spread of the virus. Despite the gradual easing into operations, mining activities were hampered during the monsoons, delaying arrival of stocks.
- With household demand for power picking up and the arrival of summer, combined with the sudden acceleration in economic activity, it has resulted in a demand-supply mismatch.
- Decline in coal stocks and the resulting power outages in several States have spurred queries of renewable energy’s potential to fill in for the conventional resource.
- Coal is abundantly available, has shorter gestation periods and coal-based plants have lower capital costs than hydel and nuclear plants, therefore, making it the most viable enabler of energy security in the country.
- The conventional resource’s capacity addition is further helped by the increased participation of the private sector in power generation.