India's potential PM goes to bat against coal

GLOBAL coal markets are anxiously looking to India as solar advocate Narendra Modi leads the polls in the lead up to the country’s general election in May.

Sadie Davidson

Modi pioneered the first incentives for large-scale solar power in 2009 and he’s signalling a “clean energy revolution” if he becomes India’s next prime minister.

Observers suggest that if elected, Modi will abandon most new coal projects and turn to solar, potentially increasing the current government’s solar targets tenfold.

With the existing issues around extracting coal in India due to reserves being under cities or within tiger reserves, as well as the increasing costs of importing coal, establishing solar power is proving to be an economically viable option.

Modi’s home state of Gujarat has the most solar power in India – with 40% of the country’s capacity of nearly 3000 megawatts – and it boasts the least blackouts in the country.

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy joint secretary Tarun Kapor told Bloomberg that Modi’s goal to make solar photovoltaics as cheap as coal by 2022 was on track to be reached at least five years earlier, aided by a plunge in solar prices and higher costs for oil, gas and coal.

India’s elections take place from April 7 to May 12, 2014.