Resources in Myth: Coal Alleviates Energy Poverty

Failing to Solve Energy Poverty: how much international investment is going to distributed clean energy access?

Increasingly, distributed clean energy is proving to be an important tool for providing energy services for those living beyond the grid. Distributed clean energy includes off-grid and mini-grid renewable energy solutions that provide power to populations either not reached by the conventional grid or those connected to the grid but considered ‘under-electrified’ as a result of chronic power outages or load shedding. Distributed clean energy has several advantages for poor populations, including the fact it can be deployed more rapidly and cheaply than the grid can be extended.

Electricity for all in India

Coal has always been the mainstay of the Indian electricity sector and many policymakers and analysts believe that it must remain the primary source of electricity generation for at least the next three to four decades. This view is based on the belief that a centralised electricity system based on an ever-expanding coal power generation base will ensure energy security, provide affordable energy for all and, importantly, address the issue of energy scarcity in India. In the world’s third largest producer of coal (after China and the United States), coal is king. This report challenges this view and proposes an alternative approach for India.