Coming through: Tata’s exit from new coal power highlights coal’s ballooning shortcomings – and that renewables make good business sense | Image credit: FIINews

Tata Power to quit new coal power, focus on renewables

IEEFA has reported that one of India’s largest private power developers – Tata Power – will quit developing any new coal power plants. It will instead source up to 70% of its new power capacity from wind, solar and hydro power. The announcement completely contradicts established wisdom that India’s growing energy needs must be fueled by coal, and is an important shift for the firm whose current thermal capacity in India is around 6,000 MW. Moreover, its 4,000 MW ultra mega thermal power plant at Mundra, Gujarat, has reported heavy losses over the rising costs of imported coal.

China to restrict new coal plants at home over air pollution, overcapacity concerns

China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) – its energy policy drafting and implementing agency – has announced it will not allow any new coal plants to be commissioned in eight coal mining-heavy provinces till 2022. These provinces are currently oversupplied with coal power that is wasted without adequate transmission capacity to neighbouring regions. The NEA is also targeting them for further reduction in air pollution – part of which is due to the local coal plants.

India: Govt approves coal mining in Chhattisgarh’s “inviolate”, very dense forest

India’s government has approved coal mining from Chhattisgarh’s Parsa open cast coal mine – which is also home to the very dense and pristine forest of Hasdeo Arand. The forest is currently classified as “inviolate”, which forbids any industrial and/or commercial operators to establish operations within its boundaries.

Yet, as India’s coal imports rose by 8.8% in FY19 over strained domestic supplies, over 840 hectares (8.4 sq. km) of the forest have been cleared for felling to help boost domestic output. The coal will be mined by the Adani group and sold to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (RRVUN) Ltd.

OCBC, DBC Bank to stop financing new coal power

China’s OCBC (Overseas Chinese Banking Corp.) and DBS (Development Bank of Singapore) will both stop financing any new coal power projects. OCBC is Asia’s second largest financier and has said its support to two new coal plants in Vietnam will be its last.

DBS’s decision is influenced by the IEA’s 2018 World Energy Outlook report, its sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the IPCC SR15’s recommendations to curb the global use of fossil fuels. Both banks will, nevertheless, continue to finance existing commitments, which for DBS may extend till 2021.

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