India's Biggest Coal Company, Oil-Rich Kazakhstan Turn to Renewables

In a fascinating twist, Coal India – the world’s largest coal mining company – says it will install solar across its operations to save on energy bills!

The government-owned company, which supplies over 80% of India’s coal production, plans to put 2 megawatts (MW) of solar at on coal plant, with more solar at all its other locations, including its mining research arm, the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute.
Housing for staff will also run on solar.

"But the most striking aspect of the decision is the company’s own recognition that fossil fuels are depleting, and that solar is approaching grid parity," says RenewEconomy, who reported on this.

"India has an abundance of sunshine and the trend of depletion of fossil fuels is compelling energy planners to examine the feasibility of using renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, and so on," Coal India’s bid document says.

And Neyvili Corp, another government-owned company is also moving in that direction, currently building a 10 MW solar PV plant that can be expanded to 25 MW.

Kazakhstan Too

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan in central Asia, announced it will spend 1% of GDP every year through 2050 to invest in renewable energy. That’s an average of $3.2 billion a year.

The country, which is the world’s ninth largest in land area with a population of just 17 million people, has about 3% of the world’s recoverable oil reserves, reports Reuters.

But it uses coal for 80% of its electricity.

"This is not such a high price for the clean air, for the health of our children and the preservation of ecological systems, as well as for our economy’s resilience to external shocks which assume more threatening proportions each year," says President Nursultan Nazarbayev who has held that position for more than 20 years.

By 2030, renewables are targeted to supply 11% of the energy mix, nuclear 8%, hydro 10%, natural gas 21% and coal 49%.

Going green would create 600,000 jobs and could account for 3% of annual GDP because of these investments.

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