POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, India

India turns to coal to meet power demand

It saw the world’s largest absolute increase in coal use in 2017.

India’s use of fossil fuels has grown despite prime minister Narendra Modi’s promotion of solar power and signing of the landmark Paris climate accord, a report by Bloomberg revealed.

Coal provides roughly 70% of India’s electrical energy needs, even as 1.24 million citizens die annually as a result of the country’s choking smog, according to medical journal The Lancet cited by Bloomberg.

“We’re very concerned about the environment, but if you ask me to put it in the order of priorities, I would say having sufficient power for development comes first,” power minister R.K. Singh said at a conference in February. “Around the world, anti-coal movements are going on. Several coal-fired plants are getting shut. But we can’t do that.”

China is the world’s biggest coal user, yet whereas Beijing’s efforts to curb pollution mean that surging demand is slowing and forecast to stop altogether next year, India is ramping it up. India saw the world’s largest absolute increase in coal use in 2017, the International Energy Agency said in a report in December.

Data released in March by IQAir AirVisual and Greenpeace found that India is home to seven of the world’s 10 most-polluted cities.

Read the full report here.

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