Decline in number of Coal-based Power Plants is expected by 2026

The latest report on coal from the International Energy Agency (IEA) begets hope as it predicts a decline in demand of coal in the short term. Those who had seen the report, published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health last month, might have noted that the exposure to fine particulate air pollutants from coal-fired power plants (coal PM2.5) is associated with a risk of mortality more than double that of exposure to PM2.5 from other sources.

Our modern society will come to a standstill without adequate supply of electricity, however, we can no longer continue to rely on coal-fired power plants.

The IEA report states that the global demand for coal rising by 1.4% in 2023, surpassing 8.5 billion tonnes for the first time. The global increase masks stark differences among regions. Consumption is on course to decline sharply in most advanced economies in 2023, including record drops in the European Union and United States of around 20% each. Demand in emerging and developing economies, meanwhile, remains very strong, increasing by 8% in India and by 5% in China in 2023 due to rising demand for electricity and weak hydropower output.

Hopefully, it expects global coal demand to fall by 2.3% by 2026 compared to 2023 levels, even in the absence of governments announcing and implementing stronger clean energy and climate policies. This decline is set to be driven by the major expansion of Renewable Energy (RE) capacity coming online in the three years to 2026. India is expected to generate 336.5 GW of RE by 2026-27 amounting to 35% of total power generation. We need to meticulously work to achieve the goal.

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