The advance of renewable energy around the world has kindled hopes that coal-based energy is on the way out. Recent data, however, make it clear that growing coal consumption in India coupled with its continued use in China keeps coal-based energy at 40 percent of the world’s heat and power generation. To address the consolidation of coal-based power in India, this article analyses an energy transition to, rather than away from, carbon-intensive energy over the past two decades. We term this transition India’s new coal geography; the new coal geography comprises new ports and thermal power plants run by private-sector actors along the coastline and fuelled by imported coal. This geography runs parallel to, yet is distinct from, India’s ‘old’ coal geography, which was based on domestic public-sector coal mining and thermal power generation.