India’s coal imports needed for power stations are likely to fall by 24% from previous estimates, following higher output from hydropower generation due to high rainfall in the last three years.

Indian Planning Commission joint adviser I A Khan told Bloomberg that the country may import 34 million to 35 million metric tons of coal in the year ending 31 March 2011.

Previous estimates by the commission in April 2010 had indicated 45 million tons of coal would be imported during the financial year.

Hydropower output had increased by 5.8% to 83,235 million units in the eight months ending 30 November 2010, 0.5% over the government’s target, according to the Central Electricity Authority.

India uses coal to fire over half of its power plants and its demand may more than triple to 2 billion tons in the next two decades.