India needs both thermal and renewable energy: WCA

Noting that coal would continue to play a vital role in India's economic life, the World Coal Association (WCA) said that while the country needed both thermal and renewable energy, for the world to transit to a low carbon future it needed to address the issue of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

"For a country like India, it's not a choice between coal and renewables - both are needed and both will play a big role," the World Coal Association (WCA) said in a report titled `Asia: Coal's future', released earlier this week.

"With the use of coal projected to continue to grow in Asia over the coming decades, a low emission technology pathway for coal is essential," it said. "The key approach for the world to transition to a low carbon future is to address the Co2 emissions. Coal is not the problem, emissions are," said WCA chief executive and the author of the report Benjamin Sporton.

According to the estimates of the International Energy Agency (IEA), India would soon replace China as the world's largest coal importer. The report said India would continue to depend on coal to meet its energy needs as the country moved to double the size of its economy to $5 trillion in a "matter of years". "As it has in the past, coal will act as the default energy source for electrification for India," it said.

Meanwhile, after prices of Chinese steel soared over 300 per cent from the lows of early 2016, due to government-imposed production cuts in China and temporary supply disruptions in both seaborne and Chinese markets, coal prices had tanked sharply, plunging around 40 per cent from the highs above $300 a tonne struck late last year.

It was in free-fall, even if prices, continued to remain elevated as compared to recent years. Also the Commonwealth Bank, said there further weakness could be expected.