Source: Down to Earth
Why in News?
Despite the country's efforts to switch to renewable energy, coal will remain India's dominant energy source.
What is the State of Energy Capacity of the Country?
According to the projections by Climate Action Tracker, fossil fuel makes up for over half the installed energy capacity in the country and is expected to touch around 266 gigawatts by 2029-2030.
Domestic coal requirement is expected to rise to 1,018.2 million tonnes by 2031-32 from 678 MT in 2021-2022.
This means coal consumption will increase 40% in India.
What is the Reason for Increasing Coal Demand?
What is Coal?
It is a type of fossil fuel found in the form of sedimentary rocks and is often known as 'Black Gold'.
It is a conventional source of energy and is widely available. It is used as a domestic fuel, in industries such as iron and steel, steam engines and to generate electricity. Electricity from coal is called thermal power.
The leading coal producers of the world include China, US, Australia, Indonesia, India.
Distribution of Coal in India:
Gondwana Coal Fields (250 million years old):
Gondwana coal makes up to 98 % of the total reserves and 99 % of the production of coal in India.
Gondwana coal forms India’s metallurgical grade as well as superior quality coal.
It is found in Damodar (Jharkhand-West Bengal), Mahanadi (Chhattisgarh-Odisha), Godavari (Maharashtra), and Narmada valleys.
Tertiary Coal Fields (15 – 60 million years old):
Carbon content is very low but is rich in moisture and Sulphur.
Tertiary coalfields are mainly confined to extra-peninsular regions
Important areas include Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himalayan foothills of Darjeeling in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala.
Anthracite (80 - 95% carbon content, found in small quantities in J&K).
Bituminous (60 - 80% carbon content and is found in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh).
Lignite (40 to 55% carbon content, high moisture content and is found in Rajasthan, Lakhimpur (Assam) and Tamil Nadu).
Peat (less than 40% carbon content and it is in the first stage of transformation from organic matter (wood) to coal).