Sops for all: India has unveiled a $4.5bn package to revive its stressed thermal plants just before its elections, despite their persistent problems | Image credit: TheEnergyInfo

India to revive stressed power assets, approves investments for Khurja, Buxar coal projects

India’s government is likely to soon undertake several steps to revive the country’s stressed thermal power plants – such as increasing coal allocation for the power sector and conducting regular coal linkage auctions.

The decision comes very close to the country going into its next general elections, and the Rs31,560 crore ($4.5 billion) bailout package also includes measures such as the bulk purchase of power by nodal agencies and non-cancellation of power-purchase agreements (PPAs) post National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) proceedings.

The Centre has also approved investments for two new 1320MW coal plants – one in Khurja, Uttar Pradesh, and the other in Buxar, Bihar. Both plants are designed to operate on super-critical technology, will involve a total outlay of Rs21,528 crore (approx. $3 billion) and are being supported to address their respective regions’ power deficits. They are expected to go online in 2023-24.

However, IEEFA has already criticised the Khurja plant for its (estimated) Rs5.67/unit power tariff, which it alleges will be uncompetitive when compared to cheaper solar, wind and pumped hydro energy alternatives.

India to expand oil & gas exploration, forego profit-sharing to lure private players

The Indian government has updated its oil and gas exploration policy to expand and fastrack the areas currently under exploration. Private players will now no longer have to share a part of their profits from new basins with the central government, and instead will only have to pay concessional royalties.

However, this will only be applicable if they commence extraction within four years of allocation for shallow and onland blocks, and five years for deep sea sites. Last month, the government had offered 23 new oil, gas and coal-bed methane blocks – spanning 31,000 sqkm – for exploration as it looks to ramp up extraction of these fossil fuels.

Study says coal exit to benefit Germany, country ready to join Powering Past Coal alliance

A new study has assessed that Germany’s 2038 coal phase-out plan will bring economic gains for the country by stimulating investments in energy storage, demand management and energy efficiency enhancements. The report is a joint work by three leading research bodies,  including the German Institute for Economic Research.

It also suggests fixed decommissioning dates for Germany’s active coal plants (leading up to 2038) as a better alternative to reducing emissions, than through the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS).

And as a boost to the objective, the country’s environment minister has stated that Germany is now ready to join the Powering Past Coal alliance. The alliance already has 30 member nations – including UK and Canada – and the declaration is a huge step forward, as Germany’s coal plants reportedly have the highest emissions in Europe.

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