Coal Crisis: Occurred Or Planned?

In the past few days, there has been news all around the world related to the shortage of non-renewable energy, or the international energy crisis; and for your information, India is not behind in this list, it has come with its coal crisis.

Coal is an energy source which is used to make electricity in thermal power plants. According to experts, India is just left with supplies for about five days; whereas government ministers claim that it is just an issue for two or three days, 14-hour long blackouts seem to give away for protests to occur.

As per data, almost 70% of India’s electricity comes from conventional thermal power plants which operate on coal and suddenly are we’re out of it, plus the festive season is right ahead of us, which is all about lights, and without the adequate amount of electricity for each Indian household, there might be some uncertainties. And as we know behind the headlines lies a world of secrets, let us dig into it.

115 out of 135 power plants across India facing acute coal shortage: CEA

Coal, a non-renewable energy source, or simply something which can’t be renewed once used, is sometimes taken as a factor to determine the resourcefulness of countries, because of it is uses, whether it is the case of electricity production or requirement in the production of new industrial materials.

That being said, India has usually been abundant when it comes to the availability of coal, but as the demand is growing drastically with increasing population and increasing industrial production, India is drying up its resources at a much faster rate, which calls in the need of using renewable energy resources instead.

This problem of using up the resources is not just with India; first world countries are going through the same thing, middle eastern attacks can be seen as proof for that, due to which a conference was held in Geneva on 12-13 February 1979, where the development and use of renewable energy resources were promoted.

Even after that, use of non-renewable energy sources like coal, petrol, is still at large. It is primarily because they are cheaper and their use is much easier and known. Due to this, in 2021 the world is facing an international energy crisis whether it is petrol in European countries or coal in India or China.

Are we out of supplies?

In my opinion, these are due to political issues, international trade contracts, etc playing the games, which has caused this global energy crisis after the 1970s. The main issue is why India, which itself is abundant with coal supply is part of it because it can be seen that from last decade or so, India has been increasing its coal production massively and it comes on number second when we talk about coal importing countries.

Currently, most of the thermal power plants are working on an extremely low supply of coal, which resulted in the fact that many states like Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Bihar are facing power cuts or blackouts which are lasting up to 14 hours in few cases. According to the government, two main issues have been stated as the primary cause for this unpredicted shortage.

Higher coal prices to impact Vedanta's profitability in third quarter:  Report - The Economic Times

First is the heavy rainfall, according to the coal ministry. Due to excessive amount of rainfall this year in the states with the coal mines, the mines have been flooded with water due to which it was not possible for them to mine, but it’s also been said by the ministry that this is the issue for one or two days, the supplies are continuously increasing its amount in the thermal plants.

Second is the reopening of industries after covid. It has been stated by an expert that developers were thinking there was a high chance of another covid wave at this time of year so they didn’t maintain enough stock at their end leading to this crisis, which leads to blaming stakeholders for the crisis.

While the above two were stated as the reasons for this coal crisis that we’re in, some experts have their own story behind this issue. Experts think that one of the reasons for this is that the government isn’t focusing enough on the use of renewable energy because at this time it would have been taken as an alternative which wouldn’t have led to the crisis at all.

Another team of experts believes that this crisis would give the justification of boosting the coal supplies in the upcoming years, which is already at the right levels. Few state governments have already started putting pressure to clear the protected areas for new coal which will put the life of tribal communities living there on hold; it will also lead to the clearance of flora of that place which will eventually result in the complete destruction of vegetation of that place.

In a nutshell, it would just lead to more serious environmental issues around that place. which leads us to the fact whether it was just coincidence or lack of awareness which led us to this crisis or it was fully planned.

Why is India facing coal crisis despite having fifth-largest deposits in  the world?

Nowadays, with the availability of internet and knowledge of energy resources might have put a threat in the heart of population; has that time come when we will be out existing energy resources, and we have to find the new ways? Well, as per that part is concerned, there still is 60-70 years until that time, but if we continue to see this exponential growth in need for energy, whether it is for transportation, industrial or domestic purposes, it might not last even 30 years.

A factor which plays a major role in this issue is that we don’t think there is a need to act until there are few stories of crisis like this coming around, and then everybody has something to say.

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