Minister Goyal Flags Doubling of Coal Production to Meet Energy Needs, Cautious on Nuclear

  • world economic forumUnion power Minister Piyush Goyal targets a doubling in coal production to a billion tonnes by 2019 to meet India’s rising energy demands
  • Government is concerned India may be saddled with nuclear technology discarded by West, needs clarity on life-cycle costs
  • Goyal predicts demand for power will double to 2 trillion units by 2019, offering investors a $250 billion investment opportunity
  • For more information about the India Economic Summit, visit:

New Delhi, India, 6 November 2014 – Union power Minister Piyush Goyal is aiming to double coal production in the next five years to meet India’s burgeoning energy demands, set to hit 2 trillion units by 2019. Goyal called for an increasing private sector role in coal production and expressed interest in new gas discoveries and ways to get gas plants back onstream.

Referring to coal as “an essential input for power,” Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy of India, said: “I see Coal India production doubling in the next five years. It makes about 500 million tonnes hopefully this year. We [will] do a billion tonnes in 2019.”

Turning to renewable energy, Goyal announced a target of 100 gigawatts of solar power generation by 2022, multiplying the previous government’s target fivefold. However, the minister sounded a cautious note on nuclear power. Noting that the US and many European countries have discontinued installation of nuclear plants, he said: “This government would like to be cautious that we are not being saddled with something only under the garb of clean energy or alternate energy; something which the West has discarded and is sought to be brought to India.” He added that he has yet to determine the life-cycle costs of nuclear power right through to decommissioning.

Minister Goyal, speaking at the India Economic Summit, predicted a “huge investment opportunity” of nearly $250 billion in the energy sector over the next four to five years, including $100 billion in renewables and $50 billion in transmission and distribution. “This government is sincere in giving power to all and this government will protect investments as we go forward,” he said.

Speaking on the same panel, Dong-Kwan Kim, Managing Director, Hanwha Group, Republic of Korea, flagged the advantages of solar power, saying that, if the government can provide a stable regulatory environment, “investors are ready to flock to India.” Kim raised the issue of air quality and questioned coal’s role as a sustainable energy option. Referring to China’s experience, he said that air pollution has become “a driving force to pressure the government,” adding that “people don’t complain about climate change on a daily basis. Air pollution, once it gets past a certain threshold, becomes a daily issue and a health issue for everyone.” Kim predicted that, “As India doubles capacity in power generation I think [air pollution] is going to become a more and more politically salient issue.”

Tejpreet Singh Chopra, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bharat Light and Power, India, noted that the cost of solar power production has fallen in recent years from $6 to $0.55 per watt, but the “Holy Grail” for solar power is to reduce the cost of storage technologies.

Ashvin Dayal, Associate Vice-President and Managing Director, Asia, Rockefeller Foundation, Thailand, announced his foundation’s intention to invest in 1,000 mini-grids across India as one way of starting to reach the 53 million households still without electricity.

Following almost three decades of collaboration, the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) are hosting the India Economic Summit in New Delhi from 4 to 6 November 2014. Over 700 participants have convened under the theme, Redefining Public-Private Cooperation for a New Beginning.

The Co-Chairs of this year’s summit are: Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT Media, India; James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, United Arab Emirates; Yorihiko Kojima, Chairman of the Board, Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan; Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, India; and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Documentary Filmmaker, SOC Films, Pakistan.


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