The critical role of coal in driving economic development in India means the international community should support advanced coal technologies in the country, the head of the World Coal Association (WCA) said.
“India has made it very clear that coal will be critical to delivering its economic development and energy access objectives. India is working hard to reduce emissions from coal, but it would benefit from greater international support to build modern coal technology,” Benjamin Sporton said.
Speaking at the 6th World PetroCoal Congress, a gathering of leaders from across the fossil fuel industry in India, Sporton highlighted that power generation capacity from coal will more than double between now and 2040.
“Coal will help fuel the economic development of India’s economy as it urbanises and industrialises over the decades to come. With 300 million people currently living without access to electricity and many more – including businesses that can help drive growth – suffering from intermittent supply, coal will do much of the heaving lifting in powering up India’s economy,” Sporton said.
Reflecting on the WCA’s recent report, India’s Energy Trilemma, he noted that modern high efficiency low emission coal technologies will be essential to providing affordable electricity while reducing emissions to meet climate objectives.
“All forms of electricity will have a role to play in India, indeed non-hydro renewables are forecast to grow almost exponentially – but our analysis shows the huge co-benefits of building modern coal plants. It’s for that reason that the World Coal Association believes there must be more international support for high efficiency low emission coal technology,” Sporton said.
Noting recent developments in international coal financing policy, particularly with more restrictive positions from the World Bank and OECD, Sporton said: “The international community needs to be taking an approach that helps deploy the most efficient coal in place of the least efficient coal technology, rather than just ignoring the reality that coal will play a very significant role in industrialising and urbanising economies like India.”