A subsidiary of the world’s largest coal mining company is planning to set up large-scale solar projects to source electricity for its operations — oh the irony!
Singareni Collieries Company Limited has announced plans to set up a 50 megawatt solar power project in the Peddapalli district of Telangana state in India. The electricity generated from this solar power project will be used to meet the power demands of SCCL. The company has 11 coal divisions in Northern Telangana and plans to install 50 megawatts of solar power in each division, taking the total capacity to 550 megawatts.
The total cost of implementing these projects is estimated at Rs 2,475 crore ($380 million) while the SCCL management estimates that the annual savings would be around Rs 24 crore ($3.7 million).
SCCL is expected to collaborate with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to float tenders and auction projects to prospective developers. The projects are expected to the developed at open unused locations around coal mines. SCCL currently sources electricity from thermal power plants in Telangana.
SCCL mined just over 10% of the total coal mined by its parent Coal India Limited in the financial year 2016-17. Coal India itself has announced ambitious plans to set up solar power projects. It plans to set up 1 gigawatt of solar power capacity. Initially, it will set up 600 megawatts of capacity across four states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Maharashtra.
NLC Limited, an independent coal mining company, also announced plans to set up 4 gigawatts of solar power capacity across India. The status of that target remains unknown after the company quashed plans for some of those projects.
A large number of public sector companies have announced plans to set up large-scale solar power projects across the country. They are following directions from the federal government to increase renewable energy capacity to reach the 175 gigawatts of operational capacity by March 2022.