'Bad boys' are back: India doubles down on coal as heatwave worsens power crisis

(Reuters, 6 May 2022) A resurgence in India's hunger for coal could mean peak consumption is years away as it moves to reopen more than 100 mines.

India is planning to reopen more than 100 coal mines previously considered financially unsustainable, as a heatwave-driven power crisis forces the world's third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter to double down on the fuel after months of low consumption.

State-run Coal India, which accounts for 80% of domestic coal output, saw production fall for two straight years ended March 2021 mainly due to a lack of demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. India also pushed utilities to cut imports of coal used for power generation to zero during that period.

But a recovery from the pandemic followed by an unrelenting heatwave boosting air conditioning use, has revived demand and the government is forcing utilities to step up imports and Coal India to ramp up production to address supply shortages.

On Friday, the coal ministry's top bureaucrat said the world's second-largest producer, importer and consumer of coal after China expected to increase output by up to 100 million tonnes in the next three years by reopening closed mines.

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Reuters, 6 May 2022: 'Bad boys' are back: India doubles down on coal as heatwave worsens power crisis