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Coal Makes A Comeback In India, New Capacity Up 73% In 2019

India witnessed a sharp rise in new coal-based power generation capacity last year, with dirty power plants accounting for 44% of the total new power generation capacity added in the country. The share is a huge increase from just 21% in 2017 and 25% in 2018.

India witnessed a sharp rise in new coal-based power generation capacity last year, with dirty power plants accounting for 44% of the total new power generation capacity added in the country. The share is a huge increase from just 21% in 2017 and 25% in 2018.

India’s power generation sector witnessed 7.8 gigawatts of net coal-fired generation capacity coming online in 2019. The net generation capacity addition in overall the fossil fuel-fired sector was only marginally lower at 7.7 gigawatts due to some retirements in diesel-powered generation.

At the end of December 2019, India’s fossil fuel-based power generation capacity stood at 230.7 gigawatts, including 205.2 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity. It is interesting to note that outside the renewable energy sector India managed to add new capacity based only on coal. Apart from diesel, which saw contraction in installed capacity, no net capacity was added through gas, nuclear, or large hydro technologies. India defines large hydro projects as those having a generation capacity of over 25 megawatts.

The share of renewable energy technologies in new capacity added dropped sharply following two consecutive years to rise. Renewable energy registered a share of 57% in new capacity added, down from 74% in 2018. Share of wind energy in new capacity held a share of 13%, unchanged from last year while share of solar power was down from 50% in 2018 to 44% in 2019.

A total wind energy capacity of 2.4 gigawatts was added taking the total capacity at the end of 2019 to 37.5 gigawatts. Solar power capacity increased from 26 gigawatts at the end of 2018 to 33.7 gigawatts in December 2019, an addition of 7.7 gigawatts. Capacity addition in solar power dropped to a three-year low as India witnessed a capacity addition of 8 gigawatts and 8.9 gigawatts in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Despite the decline in new capacity addition from the renewable energy sector, especially solar and wind, India’s installed capacity mix is progressively becoming cleaner. At the end of 2019, the share of fossil fuels in India’s capacity mix had dropped to 62.6% compared to 69.8% at the end of 2015. The share of solar power has increased from 1.5% to 9.1% and the share of renewable energy has increased from 13.2% to 23.3% during the same period.

As of 31 December 2019, India’s installed generation capacity stood at 368.7 gigawatts.

 
 
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