India’s coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to rise by 22.4 per cent in three years, the federal power ministry’s chief engineer said on Wednesday, potentially neutralising its efforts to cut emissions by boosting adoption of renewable energy.
India, the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, saw its annual coal demand rise 9.1 per cent to nearly 1 billion tonnes in the year ended March 2019. Coal demand from utilities accounted for over three-quarters of total consumption.
‘Capacity by 2022 is likely to be 238 gigawatts (GW) in terms of coal-based generation,’ Ghanshyam Prasad, chief engineer at India’s ministry of power said at the India Coal Conference on Wednesday. The International Energy Agency expects India to become the second largest coal consumer behind China early next decade.
Electricity demand in the country rose 36 per cent in the seven years to April 2019 while coal-fired generation capacity during the period grew by 74 per cent to 194.44 GW, according to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
An increase in coal-fired power generation capacity would be bad news for India’s cities, 14 of which feature in the World Health Organisation’s 20 most polluted in the world.
Thermal power companies account for 80 per cent of all industrial emissions of particulate matter, sulphur and nitrous oxides in India.
Prasad said the growth rate in thermal capacity had outpaced electricity consumption over the last few years, resulting in stranded utility assets across the country.
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