Is Coal Coming To An End? Structural Changes For A Decarbonized Future

The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue took place virtually between 16 – 17 March. In light of the international ambitions to stop climate change and reduce coal combustion, five high-level panellists from yet coal-dependent countries discussed possibilities to reduce the role of coal in the respective energy systems. During the event, the speakers took a stand to different opinions expressed by stakeholders from civil society, local policy and business that were shown in short video clips. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) hosted the panel discussion “Is coal coming to an end? Structural changes for a decarbonised future”. Among the participants were Secretary of State Mr. Andreas Feicht, BMWi and Shri Vivek Dewangan, Additional Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Power (MoP). Key statements by the Government of India were:

  • India aims for 175 GW renewable capacity by 2022 and 450 GW renewable capacity until 2030.
  • India cannot assume that renewables will be available 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • Due to limited availability, natural gas is not an alternative.
  • India is still reliant on coal power.
  • Battery technology and green hydrogen can reduce India’s dependency on coal. This requires massive dissemination of technologies to reduce costs. This can be achieved via green financing and the implementation of more pilot projects.
  • As long as India has no cheap storage technologies, up to 40% of the power plant capacity is projected to remain coal based until 2030.
  • To ensure grid stability, a lot of flexibility in the coal power plant fleet is necessary.
  • Together with the Indo-German Energy Forum, the US and Japan, the Government of India is working constantly to increase the flexibilisation of coal-fired power plants.
  • An important aspect is the regional grid integration with neighbouring countries, like Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • In previous years, 16 GW coal fired power plants were shut down, and India is constantly evaluating which plants could follow next.
  • A green hydrogen mission is supposed to start in the coming six months.
  • India will be hosting the G20 in 2023.