Stranded and outdated: A new report has revealed that several more of India’s coal plants than the 34 units reported to the Parliament in 2018 could be stranded | Photo: Bloomberg

IEEFA: India’s stranded assets problem worse than reported to Parliament

A new report by IEEFA has revealed that several more of India’s coal plants could be classified as stressed assets than the 34 units reported to the Parliamentary Standing Committee in 2018. The report analyses 12 Non-Performing Assets (NPAs)’ high costs of operation and has found that the equivalent capacity of renewables could have been built at 30% lower expenses. 

One of the 12 NPAs analysed is the yet-to-be-built 4,000MW Cheyyur plant in Chennai, whose modelled tariffs would be around Rs5-6/kWh — with fuel cost escalation an ever-present threat. This is far costlier than the tariffs of under Rs3/kWh signed for solar and wind projects in Tamil Nadu since 2016, which raises questions on the very rationale behind India’s largest would-be coal plant. 

India to be largest fossil fuel consumer by 2030 despite shrinking coal capacity 

India’s minister for oil and gas has claimed that the country will overtake all major economies in fossil fuel consumption by 2030. The claim is a reference to the country’s growing (projected) energy demand, which will mainly be fed by oil and natural gas. At 4.5% per annum, India’s consumption would grow much faster than the global average of 1.4%.

This is because IEEFA estimates that India’s coal capacity addition is likely to fall short of the 266.8 GW target for 2030 by as much as 26GW, as coal plants face high operating costs and battle water stress, stricter emission standards and challenges to land acquisition.  

Payback in mere 7 years if entire world ditched fossil fuels, says Stanford professor

A Stanford Professor has calculated that it would take the world a mere seven years to recover the $73 trillion in investment needed to immediately phase out fossil fuels and switch to renewables. Professor Mark Jacobson’s new study — he was influential in shaping the US Democrats’ Green New Deal — says a part of the recovery would be from the $11 billion the world spends every year on fossil fuel exploration and subsidies.  The claims, however, may be questioned by the clean energy sector itself, as the technical challenges of running power grids entirely on renewables are yet to be ironed out.

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