India’s wild energy trends raise doubts over coal’s future

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In this Jan. 7, 2011, file photo, people carry baskets of coal scavenged illegally at an open-cast mine in the village of Bokapahari in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand where a community of coal scavengers live and work. Within the wild energy market of the world’s second-most populous nation, predictions are proving tricky. India […]

NEW DELHI (AP) — Within the wild energy market of the world’s second-most populous nation, predictions are proving tricky.

India had been projected to become a carbon-belching behemoth, fueled by thermal power plants demanding ever more coal for decades to come.

Now, some analysts are saying that may not happen.

In the last two years, coal consumption has slowed to its lowest level in two decades, even with the economy growing at a steamy 7 percent annual pace.

India is the world’s third-largest carbon emitter and relies on coal-fired power plants. Its energy needs were forecast to soar, potentially escalating its emissions of climate-warming carbon.

Analysts say coal’s peak is coming earlier than forecast because the industry’s efforts on efficiency and renewable energy are taking hold.

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