WCA Report: India's Energy Trilemma

The WCA released a report in November 2015 "The Case for Coal: India's Energy Trilemma" looking at the growing coal demand and the significant potential offered by high efficiency low emission coal technologies in reducing CO2 emissions.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that 304 million people in India are without access to electricity. Unsurprisingly, in a speech earlier this year, Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, stated that “universal and affordable energy access 24/7 … is the mission of this Government under Prime Minister Modi”.

India is currently the world’s third largest energy consumer; this position will be consolidated over the coming years driven by economic development, urbanisation, improved electricity access and an expanding manufacturing base. Indeed, the IEA forecasts that by 2040 India’s energy consumption will be more than OECD Europe combined, and rapidly approaching that of the United States. 

Like China before it, India’s economic growth will be fuelled by coal. Reflecting this, in 2012 45% of total primary energy demand and 72% of generated electricity demand was met by coal. India currently has approximately 205 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired electricity generation capacity, this will soon be augmented by 113 GW of new coal-fired capacity currently under construction..

Recognising India’s growing role in the international coal market, the World Coal Association commissioned external analysis to consider future demand, CO2 abatement costs and levelised electricity cost for India, including comparison with Europe. This new report provides a high-level summary of the outcomes of this analysis.

Find the full report here (pdf) and the press release here

  • Report background
  • Deploying cleaner coal technology in India
  • Resources

Replacing subcritical capacity currently in the development 
pipeline with 
supercritical or 
ultra-supercritical capacity 
would translate to significant reductions in CO2 emissions in India.

Deploying cleaner coal technology in India

Investing in super and ultra-supercritical technologies in India remains a cost-effective carbon abatement alternative compared to investment in other generation technologies. 


India's Energy Trilemma

WCA report demonstrates significant potential of low emission coal technologies in India