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New India coal power plants planned despite climate risks: Report | News on climate change

The draft electricity policy shows that India is considering coal as it is ‘the cheapest source of electricity’: Reuters.

India could build new coal-fired power plants because they generate the cheapest electricity, according to a draft electricity policy document that Reuters reported, despite growing calls from environmental houses to reduce coal use.

Coal’s contribution to power generation in India falls for the second year in a row in 2020, marking the beginning of decades of growth in the coal thermal sector. However, this fuel still accounts for nearly three-quarters of India’s annual electricity output.

Environmental activists have long opposed India’s addition of new coal-fired power generation capacity. Solar and wind energy prices are falling to record lows, which will help the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter cut emissions.

The US President’s Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, said this month that India is “finishing work on climate, driving the curve”, as he begins negotiations with leaders. government aims to cut carbon emissions faster to slow global warming.

But the 28-page draft of the National Electricity Policy (NEP) 2021 – which has not been announced yet – suggests that India could add new coal-fired power capacity, despite its recommendations. tighter technology standards to reduce pollution.

“While India is committed to increasing capacity through non-fossil power sources, coal-based generating capacity may still be required in the country as it continues to be a source of power. the cheapest, ”writes the NEP draft.

All coal plants of the future should only deploy the so-called “super critical” low-pollution technology “or other more efficient technology,” it added.

State-owned NTPC Ltd, India’s top power producer, said in September it would not buy land for new coal-fired power projects. Private and state-run companies across the country have not invested in new coal-fired power plants for many years, claiming they are economically inefficient.

Environmental activists have long been against India – the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases – for adding new coal-fired power generation capacity. [File: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg]

A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters that a government panel of various power experts and officials would discuss the draft and could make changes before seek the approval of the cabinet.

India’s Ministry of Electricity did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Sunday.

The draft document also proposes to trade renewable energy in the financial markets, create separate tariffs for electric vehicle charging stations, and privatize power distribution companies.

Alternate power source

The NEP 2021 was India’s first attempt to revise its electricity policy, which was enacted in 2005, when the country produced negligible renewable energy.

Experts say the gradual reduction of renewable energy sources and the elimination of conventional sources such as coal and natural gas could quickly lead to grid instability, potentially causing power outages.

While it proposes to flexibly use coal and natural gas thermal power to ensure grid stability in the coming years, the draft policy also lists the main goal of promoting clean electricity development.

The draft policy proposes to promote the application of “cost-effective” pumped hydro storage to support the grid, adding that so far only 4.8 gigawatts (GW) of total storage capacity can be potential pump 96.5GW has been developed.

The policy also recommends compensating for plants running on natural gas operating with reduced efficiency to ensure grid stability and higher wear resistance due to fluctuations in power generation.



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