Like many other countries, India's industrial base and electricity system has been built largely on the back of coal-based power generation. Since nationalization in the early 1970s, Coal India (CIL) has weathered many political and economic obstacles in trying to deliver on the nation's coal demands.
In all the recent euphoria about renewable energy, the deep historical connections between the Indian state and the coal industry seem to be unacknowledged. Both financially, and politically, the Indian state is deeply invested in coal and coal-based power generation. This is likely to make the transition to renewable energy gradual, not precipitous, as many have been predicting.
In this talk, Rohit Chandra will give a brief historical sketch of the Indian coal industry, and then discuss some of the reasons why coal and its downstream use in power and other industries is likely to persist in India for the foreseeable future.