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In order to contribute in our commitment to increase non-fossil energy capacity to 500GW by 2030, Coal & Lignite companies have planned to install additional 5560 MW of renewable capacity with an investment of over Rs. 15000 Crores. This will take the total installed capacity to 7 GW. Coal India alone has planned to install 3 GW of solar Power in next 5 years to achieve its net zero target, the government statement said.
With recent announcement on new climate targets by the Prime Minister at COP26 under ‘Panchamrit Strategy’, India has taken a big step towards cementing its commitment to clean energy. Since coal has to play a role of primary fuel for power generation in our country for the time being, till renewable source fully caters to our energy demand, Ministry of Coal, in line with the commitment, has already moved forward with a comprehensive Sustainable Development Plan. Action has already started for its speedy implementation. Emphasis is to put major thrust on Sustainable Development in coal mining, taking care of its environmental and social impact.
A full-fledged Sustainable Development Cell (SDC) in Ministry of Coal has been established to advice, mentor and plan action to minimise the adverse impact of mining. Apart from suggesting way-forward, its implementation and monitoring, SDC is also formulating future policy framework for environmental mitigation in Coal and Lignite sector of our country. Extensive work by Coal India Ltd. (CIL) and its subsidiaries along with Singareni Coal Company Ltd. (SCCL) & NLC India Ltd. (NLCIL) has already started, effect of which could now be seen in some of these mining companies.
In line with the commitment of our country to reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now onwards till 2030, Bio-Reclamation of mined out land has already been taken up on a big scale by all coal companies through massive tree plantation drive.
First Mile Connectivity (FMC) is other major initiative by coal companies to minimise environmental pollution, where coal is being transported through conveyor belt from Coal Handling Plants to Silo for loading. This process eliminates movement of coal through road. Taking a big step, 39 such projects have been planned to be commissioned by 2023-24 with an investment of over Rs. 13000 Cr. CIL alone will enhance its mechanical loading and transport of coal from the present level of 120 million tonnes to 565 million tonnes by 2023-24. These FMC projects will save diesel worth Rs.2100 crores per annum. There will be reduction in vehicle density by 2770 trucks per hour paving the way for significant reduction in carbon emission.
In addition to this, Energy Efficiency Measures are also being taken for reduction in carbon foot print. New environment friendly mining equipment have been introduced on a mass scale by different coal companies to mitigate impact of carbon emission.
All these activities will pave way in coming five years for benchmarking a better Sustainable Development effort by Coal Industry on Economic, Environmental and Social front and also in line with the commitment made in COP26.