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India’s power minister calls for thrust in hydro, solar energy to tide over coal shortage

According to reports, power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Wednesday said India must develop its hydroelectric, thermal and alternative sources of energy in response to a growing coal shortage.

Shinde told a FICCI conference on power that he expected the mineral, which generates 65 per cent of India’s electricity, to generate the majority of power capacity added over the next five years. A lack of domestic supply of the mineral is making the country more dependent on imports, he said.

A report by FICCI and consultants from ICF International released at the conference said domestic supply was growing at 4 per cent a year while demand rose at an annual rate of 7.5 per cent. The mismatch is expected to widen the gap between the country’s demand and supply of energy, with coal imports meeting nearly a third of demand after five years.

 “To address this growing demand, we require not only increased capacity for generation of electric power, but also modernisation and augmentation of the existing thermal and hydel units, and also harness the potential of all other sources of energy,” he said.

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