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November 22, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The global energy landscape is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, contributing 80% of the total energy output, while renewable sources constitute a mere 2.4%. In the context of India, a nation grappling with the dual challenge of surging energy demands and sustainable development, the reliance on coal-fired thermal power plants remains predominant, generating 74.3% of the country’s electricity in FY 2022-2023.

Need for Electricity Security:

Stable and Affordable Power: Ensuring a reliable and affordable electricity supply is paramount to India’s development.

Renewables’ Minor Role: Despite substantial potential, renewable energy constituted only a fraction of the energy mix in 2022.

Coal’s Predominance: Coal-fired thermal power plants emerged as the backbone, generating over 74% of India’s electricity, driven by escalating demand and industrial support.

Balancing Emissions and Development:

India’s Global Emission Share: India’s cumulative emissions account for just 3.3% globally, underscoring its role in balancing development and emissions.

Sustainable Development Imperative: Catering to 17% of the world’s population, India must ensure that sustainable development goes beyond rhetoric.

Challenges and Strategies:

Dependency on Critical Battery Materials: Grid-scale battery materials’ control by a few countries poses energy security risks; cost-effective alternatives anticipated post-2030.

Efficiency and Nuclear Expansion: Improving thermal power plant efficiency, expanding nuclear energy, and enhancing pumped storage are crucial for integrating renewables.

Coal’s Role in Electricity:

Future Projections: India’s national grid could absorb more renewable electricity by 2031-2032, though cost differentials with coal pose challenges.

Domestic Coal Dependence: With 96% of coal sourced domestically, significant growth in India’s coal capacity is anticipated.

Concerns of Coal Transport: High ash content in Indian coal causes performance issues; washing coal before transport over 500 km can mitigate emissions.

Flue-Gas Desulphurisers (FGDs) Dilemma: Despite lower sulphur content, installing FGDs in thermal power plants poses challenges in terms of increased coal consumption and reduced efficiency.

Way Forward:

Advanced Technologies: Supercritical and Ultra-Supercritical technologies can play a pivotal role in reducing carbon emissions.

IGCC for Carbon Capture: Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants can capture CO2, contributing to low-carbon electricity generation.

Government Incentives: Promotion of IGCC or Advanced Ultra-Supercritical Technology (AUSC) before 2030 can foster low-carbon initiatives.


The challenge of global warming emanates from all fossil fuels, emphasizing the urgency of a comprehensive approach. The principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” should guide global climate change efforts, recognizing varied contributions. For India, a transition towards low-carbon development is not just desirable but essential to strike a balance between meeting energy needs and environmental conservation.


November 22, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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