Around 27 gigawatt GW) of proposed new coal power plants in India could deplete the scarce public resources, lock consumers onto high electricity prices, and threaten India’s renewable energy ambitions, notes the latest report by the energy think tank Ember and Climate Risk Horizons.
The report suggests that India does not require additional coal capacity to meet its power demand growth by FY 2030. Surplus coal plants can be scrapped without sacrificing the power infrastructure’s ability to meet future demand.
It further states that India can free up to Rs 2.47 trillion in capital expenditure and save Rs432.19 billion annually by investing in renewable energy and storage instead of coal projects.
Currently, India’s total installed power capacity stands at 387 GW, with 209 GW hard coal and lignite, 94 GW other firm capacities such as gas, diesel, large hydro, nuclear, bio-power, small hydro, and 84 GW of wind and solar combined.
If India retires coal plants older than 25 years, then roughly 54 GW of coal-powered plants will close by FY 2030. If the 33 GW currently under construction are completed on schedule and no other new coal plants are built, India’s coal power capacity will be 188 GW by FY 2030.
Citing a forecast made by the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) in the 13th National Electricity Plan (NEP13), India’s electricity demand is expected to rise by 13 per cent to meet the NEP13 forecast, to reach 1,566 Terawatt-hour (TWh) in FY 2022.
India needs to add about 39 GW of new renewable energy annually to reach the 450 GW target by FY 2030, from the current target of 100 GW. Although the current build rate is falling short, things are looking positive as commitments made by ten different power generators in India now add up to 301 GW, the report said. An earlier report published by Ember had revealed that the global power sector emissions have increased above pre-pandemic levels due to a rise in electricity demand. The increased demand was mostly met by wind and solar power (57 per cent) and by an increase in emissions-intensive coal power (43 per cent) that caused the rise in CO2 emissions.