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A Bold Step to Sustainability: India’s Clean Energy Transition


India’s decision to stop building new coal-fired power plants, aside from those that are already under construction, underlines its commitment to battling climate change and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. This action fits well with worldwide trends that call for phasing out coal, ensuring energy security, upgrading air quality, and decreasing pollution. India needs to switch to cleaner energy sources because of the country’s strong reliance on coal for electricity production.


GS Paper 3 – Environment and Ecology – Clean Energy

Mains question

In light of India’s commitment to battling climate change and promoting renewable energy, discuss the relevance of its decision to halt the construction of new coal-fired power plants. What obstacles does India have to overcome in order to lessen its reliance on coal, and what steps should be made to address them? (150 words)

What level of commitment does India have to clean energy?

India wants to achieve a goal of 500 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 and achieve net zero carbon neutrality by 2070 by moving away from coal and embracing renewable energy.

Important Takeaways:

  • Demonstrates India’s commitment to battling climate change and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Backs international initiatives to phase out coal and advance cleaner energy alternatives.
  • Promotes the growth of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
  • Enhances public health and air quality by lowering pollutants from coal combustion.
  • Improves energy security and lessens India’s reliance on coal imports.
  • Complies with India’s aims for renewable energy and the objective of net carbon neutrality.

Challenges in reducing reliance on coal

  • Power distribution companies’ (DISCOMs) financial difficulties have an impact on the viability of renewable energy projects.
  • Inadequate storage and grid infrastructure for integrating varying renewable energy sources.
  • There are few domestic finance options available for renewable energy projects.
  • A lack of knowledge and comprehension about the advantages of renewable energy among investors, small enterprises, households, and rural areas.

Way Forward

  • DISCOM reforms to improve operational effectiveness, revenue collection, and prompt generator payments are the way forward.
  • Investing in transmission and distribution networks, installing battery storage and pumped hydro storage technologies, and strengthening grid infrastructure and storage capacity.
  • Developing financial intermediaries and instruments like green bonds and green banks to raise domestic finance for renewable energy projects.
  • Expanding the transmission of information, the development of capacity, and technical support to encourage the use of renewable energy options.
  • Promoting consumer involvement and education about the benefits of renewable energy.


India’s decision to stop building new coal-fired power plants is an important step in the fight against global warming, lowering pollution, and switching to cleaner energy sources. India can accomplish its renewable energy targets, boost energy efficiency, and support global sustainability goals while assuring a cleaner and more sustainable future by embracing renewable energy and making the required reforms and investments.

December 2023