New Delhi: India will become the world’s second-largest coal producer in energy terms behind China in the early 2020s overtaking Australia and the United States, predicts International Energy Agency (IEA).  

According to the latest report by the World Energy Outlook, India is estimated to produce 955 megatonnes of coal equivalent (Mtce) in 2040 as compared to 395 Mtce produced in 2017, growing at an annual rate of 3.9%. 

“India will overtake Australia and the United States in the early 2020s to become the world’s second-largest coal producer behind China in energy terms; considered by mass, India is already the second-largest coal producer. Steam coal accounts for the majority of coal production growth in India as coking coal output is limited by coal quality, i.e. the high ash content of Indian coal,” the report said. 

The World Energy Outlook 2018 report also highlights that India will become the largest coal importer, overtaking China through the 2020s. The country’s coal imports are expected to reach 285 Mtce in 2040 from 172 Mtce in 2017.

“India, which became the world’s second-largest coal consumer in 2015, is the single largest source of global demand growth in the New Policies Scenario. India is pushing strongly to expand the role of renewables in its power mix, yet robust growth in electricity demand still means a near-doubling in coal-fired power output to 2040,” the report stated.

It added that though India has set ambitious targets for domestic coal production, imports would rise, especially for coking coal on the back of growing demand from the iron and steel industries.

India is trying to cut down coal’s share in electricity generation to 48% in 2040 from 74% in 2017. Besides, the share of renewable energy in the country’s electricity generation is expected to go up to 38% in 2040 from 16% in 2017.