The world’s largest coal producer, Coal India Limited was nationalized by the Indian government in the 1970s. This latest investment in renewables is being carried out in partnership with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, which will help to build a series of solar plants with a combined energy generating capacity of 1,000 megawatts.
The plan is part of Narendra Modi’s renewable energy vision for India. As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi oversaw the installation of over 900 MW of solar power in the state. As prime minister, he has promised to up the ante and bring electricity to every one India’s 1.2 billion citizens in the next five years. An estimated 400 million Indians currently lack access to any electricity.
Piyush Goyal, Modi’s power minister, says the new administration will go beyond the previous government’s target of 20,000 MW of solar by 2022. “It will be much, much larger,” he says. “I think for India to add 10,000 MW a year [of solar] and six, or seven or eight of wind every year is not very difficult to envisage.”
Much of that will come from CIL’s investment, which has already proven its commitment to eco-causes. Since 1985, CIL has planted over 73 million trees and, according to its website, worked “to minimize the adverse impact of coal mining on environment through well structured Environment Management Plans and sustainable development activities.”
Clean Technica reports that, as of July, India has doubled the tax on every metric ton of coal mined or imported in the country. Revenues from the coal tax will finance the National Clean Energy Fund, which will invest in “renewable energy projects, environmental projects and research and development projects.”