Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center
Developing Better Policies for the Sustainable Development of the Indian Coal Sector
Conference on Managing the Social and Environmental Consequences of Coal Mining in India, New Delhi, 19–21 November 2007
Coal accounts for about 70% of total electricity generation in India and is likely to remain a key energy source for at least the next 30-40 years. A significant growth in India's coal use is predicted in consonance with the country's continued development. Such an increase must occur through (and, indeed, is dependent upon) environmentally and socially sustainable development of this sector. The main challenges to such a transition pertain to a) high demand for coal in the power sector, which would speed up coal exploration and extraction, and b) current and past socio-environmental concerns. Areas that need particular attention include: a) managing the demand for coal, b) strengthening data collection and analysis (especially coal reserve estimates), c) developing a technology and policy roadmap for efficient extraction, along with a visioning exercise, and d) better resettlement & rehabilitation and environmental impact assessment policies.