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Thursday, May 23, 2024

India to save coal by reducing power generation

The energy-hungry nation expects the plan to reduce power generation by 58 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) from the 81 utilities to save 34.7 million tonnes of coal and cut carbon emissions by 60.2 million tonnes, the power ministry said.

India plans to phase down at least 81 coal-fired utilities over the next four years, the federal power ministry told top energy department officials of state and federal government in a letter.

The energy-hungry nation expects the plan to reduce power generation by 58 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) from the 81 utilities to save 34.7 million tonnes of coal and cut carbon emissions by 60.2 million tonnes, the power ministry said.

Two-year extension

India’s power ministry has sought a two-year extension for utilities to install emission-cutting equipment, which if approved by the environment ministry would mark the third pushback on a commitment to clean up dirty air.

Indian cities have some of the world’s most polluted air. Thermal utilities, which produce 75% of the country’s power, account for some 80% of industrial emissions of sulphur- and nitrous-oxides, which cause lung diseases, acid rain and smog.

The power ministry, in a letter to the environment ministry seen by Reuters, cited higher costs, lack of funds, COVID 19-related delays and geopolitical tension with neighbouring China, which has restricted trade.

“The entire process of planning, tendering and implementing FGD has been badly effected,” the power ministry said, referring to flue gas desulphurization (FGD) units that cut emissions of sulphur dioxide.

A power ministry spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

India has been discouraging Chinese investment since a deadly clash on their disputed Himalayan border in 2020. While bilateral trade has flourished, it is heavily weighted in China’s favour and remains a thorny issue in ties.

Read more: Modi warns of fire risk amid heatwave in India

India had initially set a 2017 deadline for thermal power plants to install FGD units. That was later changed to varying deadlines for different regions, ending in 2022, and further extended last year to a period ending 2025.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk