Coal India, the largest coal mining company in the world has announced that it will close 37 of its mines saying the mines are no longer economically viable. The move comes in a time when India’s solar sector is attracting heavy international investment.
The Independent reported that Coal India made the decision because the mine that are to be closed are no longer economically viable. Coal India produces around 82 percent of India's coal and said the mines would be decommissioned by March 2018.
The closures, of around 9 percent of the state-run firm's sites, will reportedly save around 8 billion rupees (£98m).
India's government is also shifting away from coal power and has announced that it will not build any more coal plants after 2022 and predicts renewables will generate 57 percent of its power by 2027 – a pledge far outstripping its commitment in the Paris climate change agreement.
Plans for nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations – about the same as the total amount in the United Kingdom – were scrapped in May, signaling a seismic shift in the India's energy market.
Analyst Tim Buckley told The Independent that the move away from the dirtiest fossil fuel and towards solar in the country would have “profound” implications on global energy markets.
“Measures taken by the Indian government to improve energy efficiency coupled with ambitious renewable energy targets and the plummeting cost of solar has had an impact on existing as well as proposed coal fired power plants, rendering an increasing number as financially unviable,” he said.
“India’s solar tariffs have literally been free falling in recent months.”
A report in February by Delhi-based research group, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), found that if the cost of renewable energy continued to fall at the same rate, India could phase out coal completely by 2050