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Coal to be India's energy mainstay for next 30 years - NITI Aayog report

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Sudarshan Varadhan

(Reuters) - will remain India's main source for the next three decades although its share will gradually fall as the country pushes renewable power generation, according to a report seen by

The country is the world's third-largest producer and the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter. It depends on for about three-fifths of its needs and aims to double its output to 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020.

By 2047, however, coal's share of India's mix would shrink to 42-48 percent, from about 58 percent in 2015, the report, which has yet to be made public, showed.

"would like to use its abundant reserves as it provides a cheap source of and ensures security as well," the report said.

It was written by the Indian think tank NITI Aayog, which advises the on policy issues and is chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Institute for Economics Japan (IEEJ).

is also the world's second-largest importer and environmentalists worry that despite its commitment to renewable energy, the country's rising use of at a time when many Western nations are rejecting the dirty fossil fuel will hamper the global fight against climate change.

aims to cut thermal imports to zero by the end of this fiscal year and use its abundant domestic stockpiles to address its electricity needs. However, it will have to start importing again after its production peaks in 2037, according to the report.

Imports could rise to as much as 62 percent by 2047 from over 25 percent now if the country doesn't make its mining more efficient, the report said.

aims to generate 175 gigawatts of electricity through renewables by 2022 and boost natural gas to 15 percent of its needs, from 6.5 percent currently, as it plans to use cleaner fuels for power plants and transport.

NITI Aayog estimates renewables will account for 10-17 percent of India's demand in 2047, up from about 4 percent now, while the share of natural gas could be limited to 8-10 percent.

The country imports nearly three quarters of its requirements, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of cutting that to two thirds by 2022 and to half by 2030.

Oil provides about 28 percent of India's and the report said that would largely continue to be met through imports.

is the world's third-biggest oil and gas consumer and the report forecasts its oil imports could rise from over 75 percent currently to as much as 90 percent by 2047.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Writing by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Susan Fenton)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)