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Coal is forecast to hold its top position as India’s largest single source of electricity in 2040, despite the rising use of renewable energy, according to International Energy Agency (IEA).

In a report titled India Energy Outlook 2021, IEA noted that India’s energy use had doubled since 2000, with coal, along with oil and solid biomass, meeting 80 per cent of this demand.

Despite the Indian Government’s plan to increase renewable energy sources, especially solar, from 52 gigawatts in 2017 to 175 gigawatts by 2021-22 and 275 gigawatts by 2026-27, it will still fall short of meeting India’s energy needs.

India will be the country with the highest increase in energy demand in the world by 2040, driven by an expanding economy, population, urbanisation and industrialisation.

“As India recovers from a COVID-induced slump in 2020, it is re-entering a very dynamic period in its energy development. Over the coming years, millions of Indian households are set to buy new appliances, air conditioning units and vehicles,” IEA stated.

“India is set to become the world’s most populous country, adding the equivalent of a city the size of Los Angeles to its urban population each year.

The World Coal Association (WCA) expressed its support for the IEA’s call to support India in building a reliable and affordable energy mix to meet the needs of its growing population.

“A pragmatic and collaborative focus from international governments, industry, and investors is now needed to ensure that policies are in place to support the deployment of all clean technologies,” the WCA stated.

“Our success as a global community in meeting our environmental goals will rely on a realistic and levelised approach.”

Coal currently powers 70 per cent of India’s electricity generation, with solar accounting for less than 4 per cent.