International Conference on Security & Prosperity In The Bay Of Bengal
December 1, 2022
February 2, 2023

India Energy Samvad : Dialogue 3 – The Future of Coal in India in Balancing Between Energy Security & Sustainability.

Event Start Date:
February 16, 2023
Event End Date:
February 16, 2023
Event Venue:



About the Topic 

The future of coal in India is shrouded in uncertainty. While on the one hand, India has committed to reducing the carbon intensity of its GDP by 45 percent by 2030, as compared to 2005, on the other, the Union government has undertaken the task of producing 1.2 billion tons of coal in the country by 2023-24, raising serious concerns regarding the feasibility of the former target outlined by the government. 


One of the foremost elements that has caused the use of coal to be debated almost perpetually, is a dichotomy that surrounds the resource. While on the one hand, it is responsible for an overwhelming quantum of global GHG emissions, on the other, coal continues to be one of the most affordable and accessible sources of energy across numerous nations, making it indispensable to the energy security of many. However, the global push for renewable energy in the wake of worsening climate change has thrown the future of coal into uncertainty, with increasing pressure on nations to phase out the resource. With nearly 74% of the total power generated in India in 2022, coming from coal, it is vital that the future of this crucial resource in the country be debated, to critically examine what the oncoming years hold for coal in India, the various methods that will need to be employed to make coal-based power sustainable, and the role coal will play in the wake of increasing generating capacity from renewable sources. 


Why this topic is relevant 

There is mounting pressure on India, as also on other nations that make use of coal on a large-scale, to gradually phase out the resource in order to accelerate global climate goals. However, in defiance of such rampant pressure, India has set for itself a tall target of producing 1.2 billion tons of coal by 2023-24. Moreover, the future of coal in India remains mired in uncertainty as a result of continually increasing generation capacity from renewable sources, which raises questions on the role that coal is touted to play in the future. Our discussion on the future of coal in India is an attempt at garnering informed answers to such questions, which have assumed increasing relevance in today’s times. 


The aim of the dialogue

CPPR aims to bring an informed dialogue on matters such as feasibility of life with or without coal, closure of old coal power plants, meeting market requirements of coal in a timely manner, as well as sustainable usage of coal, to the general public. The aim of the dialogue is to blend the national scenario to some extent with a global perspective and augment the knowledge base of  all stakeholders not limited to academia, practitioners, policy makers and  energy experts across the nation.  



Dr Madhu P Pillai, Advisor, Industry & Energy at CPPR.

Dr Pillai is a Project Management Expert with more than 36 years of broad-based Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, and Power industry experience in Operations and Project Management in India, Nigeria, the USA, Bahrain, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Dr Pillai is an Engineer with a post-graduation in Management and a PhD in Strategic Project Management. He is a Fellow of many leading international organisations like AACEI, ICEC, Institution of Engineers, etc. Dr Pillai was presented with the OT Zimmerman Founder’s award by AACEI in 2008 for his contribution to the Global Cost Management Professional Community.


Panel Members

Anand B. Rao,
Institute Chair Professor and Head,
Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA), IIT Bombay

Anand B. Rao is an Institute Chair Professor (and the current Head) at the Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Mumbai, INDIA.  He is also associated with the Inter-disciplinary Program in Climate Studies (IDP-CS), and the Ashank Desai Centre for Policy Studies (ADCPS) at IIT Bombay.  He holds Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA; M.Tech. in Environmental Science and Engineering and B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering, both from IIT Bombay.  His areas of research interest include Energy and Environment, Technology Assessment, Climate Change Mitigation, Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), Energy Policy and Planning, Rural Energy Consumption, and Rural Livelihoods.  He has served as a Lead Author for the Chapter 3 (“Mitigation pathways compatible with long term goals”) in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 6 (AR6) for the Working Group – III.  He teaches courses related to Energy, Environment and Climate Policy.  


Mr Balasubramanian Viswanathan,  Policy Advisor in IISD’s Energy program

Balasubramanian Viswanathan is a Policy Advisor (Energy( at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). He engages in data collection and analysis, stakeholder consultations, policy review, project management and communication, on issues related to energy and climate. He is based in New Delhi. Bala holds a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from BITS Pilani (India) and a Master’s degree in sustainable energy engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden). His recent work include tracking government subsidies and the role of state-owned enterprises in a changing energy landscape. 

Mr Toby Lockwood, Director Technology and Markets for Carbon Capture, CATF Expert

Toby Lockwood is Director of Technology and Markets for Carbon Capture (Europe) for Clean Air Task Force. In this role, he leads CATF’s analytical work to highlight the role of carbon capture in helping Europe meet its climate goals. Prior to joining CATF, Toby worked on carbon capture for nine years with the IEA Clean Coal Centre, where his projects included in-depth studies into the decarbonisation of coal power in China and India. He writes regularly on CCS and other energy sector issues for industry publications. Toby has Masters degrees in chemistry and materials from the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, and McGill University.


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