Coal to go cess-less? A proposal tabled by the PMO to axe the ₹400/tonne coal cess could attract global investment but squarely contradicts India’s RE ambitions | Photo: World Coal Organisation

India: Green cess on coal may be axed, coal mining may be opened up to any industry

A surprise proposal tabled by the Indian Prime Minister’s office may axe the ₹400/tonne green energy cess on coal mining to make fuel cheaper for coal power producers. If approved, the waiver could lower the input costs for stranded assets, and lower coal power tariffs to make it competitive with renewables.

The government may also open up over 200 new coal mines in the next five years to boost coal production, with output peaking at 400MT a year, and pass an ordinance to allow any entity registered in India to bid for commercial coal mining rights. The idea is to attract more global investment, but it squarely contradicts India’s responsibility towards reducing carbon emissions.

Coal plunges to 2% in UK’s power mix

Coal power’s share dropped to 2.1% in the UK’s power mix for 2019 as renewables overtook the fuel to become the largest source of power. Solar, wind and hydro together made up 26.5% of the share, with nuclear (also classified as a zero-carbon source) accounting for 16.8%. The country’s last few remaining coal plants will be shut down by 2025 as one of the EU’s largest economies steps up climate action, even though natural gas still accounts for 38.4% of the split.

Amazon and Google using artificial intelligence to help pump out even more oil

A new report suggests AI (artificial intelligence) algorithms developed by Google and Amazon are being used to help Big Oil automate the discovery of unexplored drilling sites and streamline their operations to maximise oil recovery. Such assistance would help drillers lower their cost of operations and possibly flood the market with cheaper oil.

AI works on constantly improving iterations that can far exceed human accuracy. However, both Google and Amazon are known to publicly celebrate their commitment to renewables and were unavailable for comments.

About The Author