In a win for Solar Power and the whole earth, the largest coal company in the world just announced it will shut down 37 of its mining sites. The reason? Solar power is cheaper.
Coal India, which produces over 80% of India’s coal, will shut the 37 sites by March 2018. The combined sites account for around 9 percent of India’s coal production.
India leads the way in renewable energy
India is leading the world in renewable energy adoption. Last week the government announced “Our focus is now on renewable energy. The government will encourage solar power.” The statement was in response to news the government had abandoned plans to build a new coal power station in regional Inda.
Tim Buckley, a financial analyst of the energy industry stated: “Measures taken by the Indian government to improve energy efficiency coupled with ambitious renewable energy targets and the plummeting cost of solar has had an impact on existing as well as proposed coal-fired power plants, rendering an increasing number as financially unviable.”
All cars to be electric
The news regarding coal mining comes in the wake of the recent announcement that only electric cars will be sold across the nation after 2030.
Coal isn’t just causing problems for the exacerbation of climate change, it is also deadly for humans health. Air pollution is attributed as the cause for the deaths of over 1 million Indians every year. The reduction in coal burning and the reduction of noxious gas emission from cars will improve air quality in the growing country. A recent report from the UN predicts that India’s population will continue to boom and will surpass China as the most populated country on the planet by 2024.
China takes up the challenge
China is also taking the lead on renewable energy. It invests more capital in renewable energy than any other country. Earlier this year it started operation of the world’s largest floating solar power plant. The plant is floated in the city of Huainan, in China’s eastern Anhui province. Ironically the plant is floating on a flooded coal mine. It has a capacity of 40 megawatts (MW), which would be enough to fully power a small town. Floating solar panels have many advantages. First, they don’t take up otherwise useable ground space, but the cooling effect of the water actually increases their efficiency.
Largest coal-powered power plant to face closure
The U.S. is also following the coal reduction road. Earlier in the year, the largest coal-fired power plant in the West announced it may close later this year. The owners of Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station, which is one of the largest climate polluters in the U.S., said the rising costs of generating electricity from coal were forcing them to consider shutting the plant. This caused havoc in the power industry and caused the coal supply Peabody Energy to offer lower coal prices and work with current owners to find new owners with no shutdown period.