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For the first time, India is investing in solar more than coal

In India, coal has been dominating as the most used energy resource so far. There is no getting away from the fact that coal is perceived as a cheap source of energy to feed Indians’ increasing demand for power.

But there are signs that coal’s dominance might one day be challenged. India’s investments in renewable sources are now outpacing those in fossil fuels, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The country spent more than $20 billion on its grid last year, and the Central Electricity Authority estimated an extra $40 billion of transmission spending – the cost of getting electricity from the power plant to the substation – would be needed in the next three years. That’s over half as much again as it is currently spending.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced massive solar energy investments in 2015.  But it does not mean that the country’s dependence on coal is going away any time soon. 

Although investments in renewables will continue to mount, the continued reliance on coal means greenhouse gas emissions by India – already one of the world’s biggest CO2 emitters – will climb substantially, according to IEA.

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