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India's Coal Sector Bucking The Trend

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

While growth in coal production slows gradually across the globe, India is setting itself apart from other countries, with its ambitions to aggressively increase its output.

India's Coal Sector Bucking The Trend

India’s coal industry is the second largest in the world with production in its 2022 – 2023 fiscal year (ended 31 March) of 893 million t, an annual increase of 14.8%, having achieved 8.7% growth in the previous year, with the country now accounting for over 10% of global production, ranking it second after China.

Targeting self-reliance

This growth is being driven by the Indian government’s push to reduce dependency on imports and realise AtmaNirbhar Bharat, or ‘self-reliant India’. Imports of coal are critical to India and have been steadily rising, accounting for 24% of consumption in 2022 compared with 12% in 2010. In order to achieve self-reliance, the Indian government is working towards increasing the domestic output to over 1 billion t of coal in 2023 – 2024 and 1.5 billion t by 2029 – 2030, with coal-fired power remaining a key element of its electricity portfolio.

In 2023, coal-fired power is forecast to account for 72% of total power generated in India, with a slight reduction by 2030 to 64%. While a reduction, by 2030 this figure will compare to coal’s share of 27% of total power generation globally and 45% of power produced in China, currently the world’s largest producer of coal-fired power. Renewable power is growing – in April, the Indian government set a target of having? 500 GW?of installed renewable energy by 2030, including 280 GW of solar power and 140 GW of wind power – but while India did commit to a ‘phase down’ of coal at the COP26 global climate forum in Glasgow in 2021, it does not mean a reduction in overall coal demand. Overall demand for coal is forecast to rise from around 1.1 billion t in 2022 – 2023 to over 1.6 billion t by 2029 – 2030, with the share of coal for power generation forecast to account for two-thirds of the total. By 2030, India’s share of global coal-fired power is expected to jump from 13% in 2023 to 18%. In contrast, China’s share of total coal-fired power generation is forecast to remain relatively flat, rising from 54% in 2023 to 56% in 2030.

India’s steel industry is also growing, and, like the power sector, is reliant on imports. In 2022 – 2023, metallurgical coal production was 60.77 million t, equal to 7% of total coal production, whilst met. coal demand was almost twice that amount. The country’s steel industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world, with output of crude steel in 2022 of 124.7 million t, according to the World Steel Association, making it the second-largest producer after China. It was also the only country amongst the top nine producers to register growth in 2022, with a 5.5% increase on the prior year, and there are ambitions to expand steel production capacity from 150 million t in 2023 to 300 million t by 2030 – 2031.

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