India Coal Demand Growth Slows Amid Power Glut

India’s coal consumption growth has slowed sharply as power plants, the biggest users of the fuel, are using less of their capacity, according to a Greenpeace report.

Coal consumption grew by an average of 2.2 percent over the two fiscal years ended March 2016 and 2017, compared with an average of over 6 percent in the 10 years before that, the report said. Lower consumption at cement and steel factories also contributed to the slowing use of the fuel, the report said.

“It’s too early to say whether this latest trend could mark a turning point in India’s energy mix, or if it’s simply a blip brought about by sluggish economic growth, but there are indications it could be the start of a longer decline,” Greenpeace, an anti-coal campaigner, said in the report.

India’s power plants are using about 60 percent of their capacity as money-losing provincial electricity retailers aren’t able to buy enough power from them. Falling tariffs of solar and wind power are also spurring a rethink on coal projects.

India has said its dependence on coal will continue for decades, but growing concern over air pollution is forcing the government and companies to use the fuel more judiciously.