• Energy investment in India shifting quickly to renewables

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The Financial Times has reported on the shift of investment away from coal-fired power generation to renewable power generation capacity in India. Between 2013 and 2016, investment in thermal power generation in India far exceeded renewables as a whole, with around 20 GW of thermal capacity added per year compared to perhaps 5 GW for solar, wind, hydro and other renewables together. In 2017 a major transition occurred – thermal capacity was still the largest additional source of capacity, though only at around 7 GW, but both solar and wind contributed 5 GW of additional capacity, and hydro and other renewables around another 5 GW. The transition continued in 2018, with 9 GW of solar capacity and 4 GW of wind capacity added in comparison to 3.5 GW of thermal capacity, a definitive inversion of investment. This year is expected to be similar to last, with thermal decreasing and solar increasing once more in 2020. Some coal projects have been cancelled, and coal-focussed companies are increasingly considering renewables as alternative projects. As Navroz Dubash of New Delhi’s Centre for Policy Research told the FT, “You’d have to be quite courageous to invest in coal at this point. The speed with which the story has reversed is quite astonishing.” Coal will, however, continue to be the main source of power generation for years to come, with so much capacity already installed and domestic supplies relatively plentiful. By 2026-27, coal is still expected to constitute 38% of the country’s total installed capacity, down from 57% in 2017-18.