The largest coal producer in the world is going solar. The coal mining conglomerate Coal India Limited (CIL), nationalised by the Indian government in the 70s, is investing in renewable energy sources as a partner to the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to build solar plants for the generate of a thousand megawatts of combined energy.
CIL’s investment has been pegged initially at an estimated cost of US$1.6 billion.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s energy vision for his country included overseeing installations of more than 900 megawatts of solar power systems. Modi wants to take the effort a notch higher and provide solar energy to the country’s estimated 1.2 billion citizens by 2020.
Subsides and Other Solar Incentives
According to Modi’s Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, India will “go beyond” the government target of 20,000 megawatts. This comes at the heels of the decision of India’s Supreme Court to cancel 214 permits out of 218 for coal mining, a move that will require the country to import coal that it still uses.
Modi is encouraging the shift to renewable energy by the distribution of subsidies to the Indian Army, railroads, and the rest of the public sector, especially companies that install solar power plants and systems using equipment and materials that domestically manufactured. India has also doubled the tax for domestic and imported coal.
Taxes from these will be to finance research and developmental projects on environment and renewable energy technology. This part of Modi’s initiative to encourage more people to shift to solar energy. Indian economists predict that this shift will generate availability of more employment in the country and boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well.
The End of Days for Fossil Fuels
Even Coal India Limited has altered its business structure and transformed organisational goals to pursue sustainable but profitable strategies. The increasing concern from a majority of Indian consumers regarding the unsustainability of using fossil fuels is only one reason why this gargantuan coal producer has gone solar, too.
This will further enhance Modi’s vision to empower the country as South Asia’s leading energy Goliath by the year 2020. Unlike Australia, which regrettably has kept away from fully supporting renewable energy, India has adapted to the “New Order of Sustainability” and is becoming all the better for it.
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How CIL is Different from Other Coal Producers
Unlike other global coal producers, CIL has been responsible and ethical regarding its policies on the issue of mining, monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, and even under fire from anti-fossil fuel advocates, continues to improve its coal processing and production to reduce its overall carbon footprint percentage.
The organisation has come to realise that the end of days is will come sooner than later for fossil fuels. The gradual fossil fuel depletion, according to CIL’s statement, has compelled India’s energy sector to closely examine other renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Coal India is all set to start construction on what could very well be the world’s biggest solar power plant.