Coal India will shortly call a tender for setting up 800 MW of solar power generation capacity at an estimated investment of about Rs 4,800 crore. The stateowned mining company recently invited bids to set up 200 MW of capacity in consultation with the Solar Energy Corporation of India and intends to start work on the proposed 800 MW capacity at about the same time.
The world's largest coal producer plans to generate 1,000 MW of solar power to help reduce its carbon footprint. India is among the top 10 countries in emissions of coal mine methane, which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Power generated from the solar units will be sold to state utilities.
Coal India's decision to invest in solar power is a good move. India is among the top 10 producers of coal mining methane, a greenhouse gas. In 2012, the US Environmental Agency estimated that India will have produced 1,397 million cubic metres of coal mining methane in 2015. This is bound to rise as coal production increases. So if the coal major should get really serious about reducing its carbon footprint. This it can do not just by investing in renewable energy but also by adopting better mining practices, greater use of technology to reduce the rate of forest-clearing, better land reclamation, and steps to reduce water contamination.