More delay on the cards? The Finance Commission rejected requests by the Power Ministry for Rs. 83,500 crore to fund compliance with tighter emission norms | Photo: China Daily

India: Funding for retrofitting coal plants could be rejected, over half could miss deadline

$11.6billion of funding for retrofitting India’s coal plants, to make them comply with the tighter emissions norms notified in 2015, may be rejected by the country’s Finance Commission. The funds were requested by the Power Ministry and the retrofit must happen by the end of 2021.

Also, private thermal plants that together have a debt of around $11billion have contended that the process is simply too expensive for them to undertake at this time. And Reuters has reported that over half of India’s 166.5GW worth of coal plants could miss the 2021 deadline, as banks are reluctant to lend to already stressed plants, and because the amount of time remaining.

UN Production Gap report releases damning figures

A new report by the UN on global fossil fuel production finds that global coal production by 2030 is likely to be 150% more than what’s compatible with the 2C target for limiting global warming, and 280% more than what’s needed to stay below 1.5C. It has also warned that an increase in natural gas production across the world would negate the fuel’s lower carbon footprint and instead cause a net increase in global warming. Additionally, the report outlines the risk of fossil fuel assets going stranded as and when strict climate policy forces countries to prioritise clean(er) technologies. 

Global coal power set to decline by 3% in 2019

An analysis of the monthly data from the electricity sector from around the world for the first 7-10 months of 2019 indicates that electricity production from coal is set to fall by 3% in 2019- the largest drop yet on record. If trends sustain for the rest of the year, 2019 would become just the third year in three-and-a-half decades to show decline in coal power output. The decline suggests an economic hit for coal plants worldwide due to fewer running hours (set to fall to an all time low) however global coal use and emissions remain much higher than levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

EIB to end fossil fuel funding in 2021

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced that it will end funding for fossil fuel projects by the end of 2021. The decision was previously planned for end-2020, but will nevertheless throttle funding for even natural gas projects. Under the new policy, EIB will require any new gas projects to utilise cleaner technologies, such as combined heat and power (CHP), carbon capture and storage (CCS), and mixing renewable gases with that extracted from under the ground.

China, India adding enough new coal power to negate closures elsewhere

A report by the Global Energy Monitor (GEM) has found that between January 2018 and June 2019, China added 42.9GW of new coal power, and 148GW more is currently under construction. India too added 82GW of new coal power since 2014 (while retiring 7.4GW) and together this could negate the emissions offset by other countries stepping up their coal phasedown. The capacity addition is fully incompatible with targets under the Paris Agreement, and yet, another report suggests India could even expand its coal output by an additional 402 million tonnes per annum by 2025.

India to tweak revenue sharing model to boost commercial coal output

India’s coal ministry has announced it will offer up to 20% reduction in revenue collection from bidders who extract coal from the country’s soon-to-be-opened commercial coal mines, in order to attract operators to start early. The Centre is already considering a minimal entry criteria for eligible bidders for the 15 large coal blocks identified, each of which could produce 4 million tonnes every year.