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India sees US$55 billion investment in clean coal over next decade

India expects to invest 4 trillion rupees (US$54.5 billion) in clean coal projects over the next decade as it seeks to tap domestic energy sources and curb imports, federal home minister Amit Shah said.

The investment will be made in clean coal facilities, including coal gasification and coal-bed methane, Shah said at a signing ceremony to develop new mines. He said coal power will be key to achieving India’s ambition of becoming a US$5 trillion economy, a goal he said would be reached despite setbacks due to Covid-19. Emissions from burning coal can be made cleaner but not totally erased.

India, the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, expects coal to remain its dominant energy source for decades, even as large parts of the world shun the dirtiest fossil fuel, which is blamed for contributing to global warming and air pollution. The South Asian nation has defended its use of the fuel while also embracing large-scale renewable energy projects to transition to clean energy.

“We have to meet a target to become a US$5-trillion economy, and for that, we have to exploit our coal reserves,” Shah said to the winning bidders of India’s first auction of coal blocks for commercial mining. “We should look at exploiting our coal reserves under the ground in the next thirty years to speed up economic growth. Looking at the rapid growth in alternative energy sources, the sooner we exploit these reserves, the better for us.”

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