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  Oct 26, 2021   

India’s Coal Crisis & Measures To Combat It

India's Coal Crisis And Measures To Combat It

Non- renewable sources of energy have been on the road to depletion for a very long time. Fossil fuels are versatile enough to harness and generate all kinds of energy and power, which has led to its global deficit. Especially, in a country with a high population density, like India, getting a decent energy fix is one of the major concerns. With the emergence of the recent issue of the coal crisis, the nation’s power production is on the line. And now that the coal supply has hit rock bottom, experts have found loopholes that have been obstacles in the way of power production.

Did you know? About 70% of the nation’s power generation solely relies on the coal supply. Also, there’s been a surprising downfall in the amount of coal kept on standby. Now, instead of 14 days worth of backup coal stock, power plants only have four days worth of coal due to the alarming shortage. Although there’s coal scarcity, fortunately, the experts have confirmed that operations at power plants are unlikely to run out of energy resources.

On the other hand, government ministries are putting their best foot forward in precisely monitoring coal supply. They also ensure that electric power generation is prioritised over regular industrial demands such as cement and aluminium production. To suitably deal with the prevailing coal crisis, the country shall consider the following measures.

  • Rationing the supply

One of the simple steps to be initially taken should be to control and ration the overall coal supply in rural, semi-urban and rural parts of India. Yet another alternative can be power cut for a stipulated time frame. If somehow the power plants encounter additional hits, there will surely be extended load shedding in the future. However, doing so repeatedly might harm the process of financial recovery, as it would not generate a sufficient amount of job opportunities in the country.

  • Embracing renewable sources

From hydropower, wind energy, to solar energy, all of the above have their own set of pros and cons. The best part? They all are conventionally better than fossil fuels in every aspect. If we were to consider hydropower, then the maintenance of dams must be given importance. This way, the same rains that ruined coal mines would help in hydro-power production instead. Studies prove that, in India, humongous and comprehensive hydropower projects are the reason behind most electric power production, right after coal! The magic of hydro-power could be best witnessed, from June to mid-October, when the downpour is at its peak.

As per the survey of think tank Ember, since 2015, solar and wind energy’s contribution to the world’s electric power production has precisely doubled. At present, wind and solar power contribute about 1/10th of cumulative electricity generation. Reliance on the commercial solar system has become more and more prevalent at the industrial level. This is why renewables and nuclear energy sources seem to have a bright future, especially in a populated country like India. A complete switch from fossil fuel will also help overcome troubles in the water cycle, global warming, and other biosphere devastations and unexpected climatic changes.

  • Why is solar energy the best bet?

Firstly, though cost seemed to be a barrier in the way of entirely adopting solar power, over the past decade, that issue has also been resolved. Solar energy tops the list when considering the cheapest and efficient ways of harnessing energy for power generation. Solar energy is the most potent candidate for its reasonable pricing, efficiency, accessibility, and limitless availability, even among other promising renewable energy alternatives. Solar energy generation attains its highest peak, especially at the time of the day when there’s the most demand. Even at the industrial scale, the extra supply at peak hours might also help cut down electricity prices during that time!

According to the Levelized Cost of Energy Report, over the last decade, the cost of solar energy generating equipment’s cost has plummeted by over ninety per cent! This is why, at the domestic level, the rooftop solar system has become a norm in the present scenario.

On top of that, there’s no scare of constant release of CO2 or other harmful gases. Since the power generation through sunlight does not require any obligatory supply of other substances, its maintenance and the energy production cost is almost none. This way, solar energy guarantees almost zero energy production expense. One will only have to spend once installing the main solar panel and other related equipment. Other benefits include minimal energy loss during long-distance supply, coinciding power generation at times of boost in demand, no negative environmental impact, financial savings and most importantly, increased job opportunities.

Switching to diesel or any other oil would be more futile than profitable. Why? Well, for starters, it will be the cause for an increase in carbon footprint, pollution, greenhouse gases, and ozone layer depletion. Extremely high cost is yet another hurdle. Also, there is technically a lack of oil-powered plants in India, so adopting oil on a grand level during scarcity of coal is not advisable. Although some places, such as malls, public halls, hospitals etc., tend to use diesel power generators, it’s not possible to do the same on an industrial level due to the high pricing of the fuel.

Going ‘solar’ will help replace coal, but it could also be used for various purposes such as irrigation, water pumping, generating solar thermal, etc., due to its diverse applications. To make solar power a norm, even the best solar company in India is offered tax rebates and additional incentives straight from the government. Also, the amount of pollution caused is way lesser than the other alternatives.

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