India has released a new power plan promoting a dramatic increase in renewable energy and raising doubts about the Indian-owned Adani Group’s massive coal mine in Queensland.
The new national electricity plan says India will not need any additional coal-fired energy capacity in the next decade.
India’s Energy Minister Piyush Goyal alluded to a renewables pivot when he spoke to Four Corners last year.
“I hope in the years to come we can see an explosion of renewable energy on the back of cheaper storage,” Mr Goyal said.
Tim Buckley, from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analytics, told ABC’s AM the development was bad news for the Australian coal industry.
“They [India] say that they have 50 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants under construction already, so it’s far better to complete those than write them off as stranded assets,” he said.
“But no new coal-fired plants in India in the next decade.”
Mr Buckley said the plan had left the Adani proposal “totally stranded”.
“It is a white elephant, and it is six years past its use by date.”
Plans to fund billion-dollar railway to mine
Despite these doubts, the Australian Government plans to give a $1 billion subsidised loan to Adani to build a railway to the planned mine.
When the then-Minister for Resources, Josh Frydenberg, approved the Adani mine in north Queensland 14 months ago, he argued it had to go ahead because India desperately needed it for energy.
“I think there is a strong moral case here, it will help lift hundreds and millions of people out of energy poverty, not just in India but right across the world,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Mr Buckley said the International Energy Agency (IEA) had forecast that hundreds of gigawatts of new coal-fired power plants would be built in India in the next few decades.
“The Indian Energy Ministry is saying that is absolutely wrong,” he said.
“He instead articulates a plan that involves building 215 gigawatts of renewable energy, building another 20 gigawatts of hydro, building five gigawatts of nuclear, building a bit more gas, and dramatically elevating the importance of energy efficiency and grid efficiency in order to diversify India rapidly away from coal.”