A windy monsoon in Karnataka, India’s leading state for clean energy production, last year eased pressure on the local government’s three thermal coal-power plants, as humming wind turbines met power demand amid pleasant temperatures.
But to tackle this year’s hot, energy-guzzling summer, with city-dwellers ramping up their use of air-conditioners and farmers their water pumps to combat heatwaves and above-normal temperatures, the coal-fed plants are now running full throttle.
The south Indian state’s maximum day-time temperature has been hovering three to four degrees Celsius above the 36-40C that is usual at this time of year, weather officials said.
Recently praised by researchers for its preparedness for the energy transition, Karnataka’s situation foretells the challenge facing India as the planet warms: the need to fall back on coal as the only reliable fuel despite a growing clean energy supply.
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