India Power Minister RK Singh has said the government has considered retiring coal-fired power plants in favour of renewable generation.

The move would help reduce the country’s carbon footprint, in line with government aims. Currently, India is the world’s third-largest contributor of greenhouse gases emissions after China and the US.

The country is also the second-largest coal consumer in the world. Currently, more than half of India’s 373GW power generating capacity comes from coal-fired power plants.

By 2022, the country seeks to install 175GW of renewable power capacity. In addition, it aims to meet 40% of its energy needs via non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

Singh was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Many of coal plants are getting retired. Some plants have already retired, and about 29 more plants are going to retire. All that space will be occupied by renewable energy.”

Additionally, Bloomberg reported that India might consider closing some of its ‘dirtiest’ coal power plants.

At present, the country is said to be dependent on other countries for solar cells and modules. Particularly, tensions have increased between India and China in recent weeks, despite economic relationships.

The news agency quote Singh as saying: “In another two years’ time, we plan to raise our capacity to around 25GW per annum for solar cells and modules.”

India’s present functional manufacturing capacity for solar cells stands at approximately 10GW a year with 2.5GW of solar cell capacity.