Coal Ministry to Use Surplus Land for Green Hydrogen, Pump Storage Projects

Coal PSUs have installed over 1.6 GW of solar energy generation capacity to date


The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Ministry of Coal have announced they would work together to promote green energy initiatives.

At a meeting between these ministries, it was decided that MNRE will provide essential technical, policy, and capacity-building support. The Coal Ministry will offer land capital and oversee the implementation of projects related to solar energy, green hydrogen, and other renewable energy programs.

A notable outcome of the meeting was the offer of making surplus land from coal companies available for private investors interested in establishing green hydrogen projects. Coal entral public sector undertakings possess land in open-cast mines with natural water storage reservoirs and elevations of approximately 100 meters. These areas can be transformed into pump storage projects by constructing top reservoirs. Plans are underway to accelerate the development of such projects.

Considering the vast land resources in the form of overburden dumps owned by coal undertakings, it was decided to utilize this land to set up solar projects. This endeavor extends to around 85 residential colonies located in coal-bearing regions, encompassing roughly 50,000 houses. A comprehensive assessment will be conducted to equip all government buildings and houses with rooftop solar panels, following a dedicated mission approach.

MNRE will support the Ministry of Coal and its undertakings by offering capacity-building training for engineers, technicians, and other personnel through the National Institute of Solar Energy. Additionally, knowledge partnerships with institutions like IIT Roorkee, the Solar Energy Corporation of India, and other resource agencies associated with MNRE will be established.

This decision comes in the wake of the Power Ministry’s proposal to reduce the renewable generation obligation for coal or lignite-based power generating stations from 40% to a minimum of 6-10%, although the rationale behind this reduction remains unspecified.

Several central public sector undertakings under the Ministry of Coal, including Coal India, NLC India, and Singareni Collieries Company, have already taken steps towards achieving net-zero emissions. They have installed more than 1.6 GW of solar energy generation capacity. Additionally, work is progressing on an additional 500 MW of solar projects at various stages.

Public sector undertakings of the Ministry of Coal have set a target to create a generation capacity of about 12 GW by 2030. As part of this endeavor, it is identifying suitable land patches spanning over 300 acres to offer to private investors interested in establishing green hydrogen projects, aligning with the MNRE’s policies.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Tender Tracker, Coal India has issued tenders for 5.56 GW solar power projects.