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Fast depleting coal reserves could push up energy prices - Expert

Coal News - Published on Tue, 19 Feb 2019

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The Hindu Business Line reported that the fast depletion of coal, a strategic resource and India's fuel of choice currently, has huge implications for energy costs, according to Mr K Sivadasan, a sectoral expert. Projection of huge reserves will only encourage industries to use large quantities, resulting in accelerated depletion of the fossil fuel, says the former top official of the Kerala State Electricity Board. As much as 64 per cent of coal is used for power generation, while the rest is used for other purposes, Sivadasan said quoting statistics.

A TERI (The Energy & Resources Institute) document of 2013 said India does not have adequate extractable coal reserves to meet the current incremental demand or to make long-term supply commitments.

Sivadasan highlighted the need for generating better data in order to provide a reliable and transparent basis for assessing the future structure of our energy system.

According to a 2011 estimate, India holds seven per cent of the global recoverable coal reserves. “Extremely high figures” reported in this manner have created the false and risky notion that the country has comfortable coal reserves.

The fact is that between 1980 and 2005, only India and Australia revised upwards the figures against a global trend in which coal resource assessments have been downgraded by 50 per cent overall.

Many countries have not reassessed reserves for a long time, and if at all, most have downgraded them, contrary to what was expected.

India has reported total coal resources at 315 billion tonnes (bt) as on April 1, 2017. Australian hard coal reserves have been upgraded from 29 bt in 1987 to 38.6 bt in 2005.

Mining coal below 300 metres is generally not economically viable with current technology options. Coal resources in India within a 300-metre depth are assessed at 196 bt.

Sivadasan said that of this, 154 bt are of poor quality, and is economically expensive. What this leaves us with is 42 bt. It is necessary to mention here the concept of ‘extractable coal reserves.’ It indicates the portion of resources for which a feasibility study on technical and economical grounds has been conducted.

A large portion of the measured resources of 42 bt is in the forest, in tribal areas or under water bodies or other protected regions, which may be excluded from the reserves assessed.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 19 Feb 2019
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