24 Mar 2016 Press release Energy

A Blow for Coal, a Boom for Solar

In 2014, India's Supreme Court cancelled 214 coal allocations made between 1993 and 2010 after the country's comptroller and auditor-general found the allocations had been granted without competitive bidding. The decision has shaken India's coal sector, and may significantly affect any moves to offer the cancelled coal allocations up for re-allocation via competitive tender. Since the coal boom of the past decade, many of India's debt-laden private power producers are under financial stress to deal with their day-to-day liabilities. This comes at a time when a number of large public sector companies such as BHEL, Hindustan Salts, and India's largest power company, NTPC, have all announced plans to diversify into large-scale renewable energy projects. In May, countries will meet in Nairobi for UNEA 2 – the world's de facto "Parliament for the Environment" – to discuss how the United Nations Environment Programme can deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Finding ways to improve access to clean energy will be key to ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – a key goal of the 2030 Agenda. These efforts are being driven by both policy and economics, including renewable energy targets and mandatory corporate rules that direct some company profits to investments that fulfill corporate social responsibility criteria. When bundled with renewable energy, for example, thermal power producers installing renewable energy projects can more easily sell their power. Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), for instance, is a large coal producer and power generator located in Southern India. The company is investing US$ 82 million in 25 megawatts of solar photovoltaic and 55 megawatts of wind power capacity. With several incentives on offer, and an implicit government directive, Indian public sector companies are looking to aggressively invest in renewable energy infrastructure, and likely to buy solar panels and other equipment from Indian companies rather than import them from other countries. About UNEA In May, hundreds of key decision makers, businesses and representatives of intergovernmental organizations and civil society will gather in Nairobi for UNEA-2 at the United Nations Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi. The assembly will be one of the first major meetings since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. The resolutions passed at UNEA-2 will set the stage for early action on implementing the 2030 Agenda, and drive the world towards a better, more just future.