Niti Aayog member V K Saraswat on Tuesday vouched for the need of a coal regulator to ensure that the dry fuel is available at a competitive price to consumers as it will continue to be the mainstay for the country's energy demand.
Some private coal consumers have said that coal prices in the country should be more competitive in coal auction price, he said.
"Establish a coal regulator with a clear mandate to enable competitive structure in the coal sector in India," Saraswat said suggesting a way forward for the coal sector while addressing a virtual Indian Chamber of Commerce event.
"Create a national mission to promote coal consumption from alternate usage like coal gasification and coal-bed methane," he said.
Saraswat said surface coal gasification is 17-20 per cent more efficient than conventional coal burning for electricity.
The coal ministry has recognised the need for renewable energy in the future but does not want any knee-jerk reaction on withdrawal of coal due to environmental concerns as it continues to be a major source of energy amid sharp spurt in energy price globally, Coal Secretary A K Jain said at the event.
Any knee-jerk decision on withdrawal from coal will not be favourable for the country. "The market should decide its withdrawal when renewable and other green energy is sufficient", he said.
Prices of the mineral has not been increased for regulated sectors like power but for some high grade coal a better price is sought in the auctions, the coal secretary said.
Comparing the scenario with that of other countries, he said energy prices in European countries had shot up multiple times compelling some decommissioned coal fired power plants to be in demand. Over global warming concerns, he said 2 GW capacity of coal fired power plants had been decommissioned.
"A shift to green energy source will take some more time and till then we should not take any decision that may hurt the coal sector, which is our mainstay for energy demand," Jain added.
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