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Yes, India really is moving away from coal and toward green energy

Tim Buckley, the director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis in Sydney, puts forward the case in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about how India is pulling away from coal and toward green energy.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists are the keepers of the Doomsday Clock.

Buckley’s take is optimistic, in contrast to many perspectives that came out of the UN climate summit in Madrid. (Further, Reuters reported two days ago that big Indian electricity generator NTPC rejected the emissions-cutting technology of GE and other foreign firms for its coal-fired plants. NTPC argued that the technologies were “not suitable.”)

The main reason for the shift from coal? Solar prices have dropped massively, allowing India to shift away from the dirty fossil fuel. (Read his article for a more in-depth look at why this shift has occurred. A need for clean air and water is a big motivator, for one.) Unreliable power supplies have also been a drag for its domestic economic growth.

Buckley points out that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is planning a fivefold expansion of the electricity generated from renewable energy sources by 2030. Buckley explains:

This means that India is committed to more than meeting the goals of its national contributions in  the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement; it is going to ‘overdeliver,’ in the parlance of economists. This development is all the more astonishing, because just a few years ago India was a villain when it came to coal use; in 2015, Modi’s ruling party had wanted to more than double India’s mining of coal, to 1.5 billion metric tons by 2020, despite the risks this posed to the climate and the country.

As India benefits from the shift to domestic renewable energy, other emerging market nations are watching, keen to leverage the same benefits for their own countries.

And therein lies a key path to global decarbonization and a much-needed solution to limit global warming.

And none too soon.

Diesel drops

Meanwhile, India’s Economic Times [via Reuters] points out that fuel consumption in India is forecast at 216 million tonnes (metric tons) in the fiscal year to March 2020, about 3.3 million tonnes (metric tons) lower than initial estimates.

Further, India’s diesel consumption is slowing. Local sales of diesel are expected to grow 0.9%, the lowest rate in five years, to 84.3 million tonnes (metric tons).

Cars in India are shifting to gasoline, trucks are getting more efficient, and solar pumps are replacing diesel-fed units across the countryside.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.