Hike in coal production in the last three years has helped mining major Coal India Ltd save Rs 25,900 crore in foreign exchange, interim Chairman and Managing Director Gopal Singh said today. “Coal production has increased substantially in the last three years (fiscals), resulting in savings of Rs 25,900 crore in imports,” Singh said in his address to shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting here. Singh said coal imports accounted for 25 per cent of the country’s total consumption in 2015-16, and 23 per cent in 2016-17.
Coal stock in at least over a dozen thermal power plants in the country turned critical, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission had said in a recent report. Singh emphasised on swift exploitation of domestic fossil fuel reserves in order to meet future demand and reduce imports. “The large planned new coal-based thermal capacity is likely to put pressure on coal resources. Coal-based power generation capacity of 125 gigawatt in 2012 is likely to go up to more than 330-441 GW by 2040 (192 GW in FY2017). The demand for these plants is likely to be first met by domestic coal, which will require quick exploitation of our reserves. “Import dependence in oil and gas is understandable given our poor reserves we have, but import dependence on coal particularly non-coking coal is something that can be addressed by swift exploitation of domestic coal reserves,” he said.
Singh said the share of coal in India’s commercial primary energy supply was 55 per cent in 2015-16, and is expected to remain high at 48-54 per cent, even in 2040. He pointed out that the state-owned miner needs to achieve double-digit growth rate in order to meet the production targets. CIL has maintained its projection of one billion tonne coal production target by 2022. The company produced 554.14 million tonne of coal in 2016-17, while coal off-take was 543.32 million tonne during the same period.