Power policy draft amended by govt to stop new coal-fired capacity

01 May 2023

In a major effort to combat climate change, India aims to remove a crucial clause from the final draft of its National Electricity Policy (NEP), stopping the construction of new coal-fired power plants in addition to those already planned, according to sources. The decision would MAKE China the only major economy accepting new proposals to install substantial amounts of additional coal-fired capacity, if it were to be accepted by the cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As the majority of developing nations reduce capacity to achieve climate commitments, India and China account for nearly 80% of all coal projects that are now under construction. According to E3G, an independent climate think tank, only 20 countries will have more than one coal project planned by the beginning of 2023. One of the three government sources said, "After months of discussion, we have come to the conclusion that we would not need new coal additions aside from those already in the pipeline."

If adopted, the new regulation would not have an influence on the 28.2 GW of coal-based electricity that are now under development, according to the sources. Together, China and India have pushed for the option for nations to select their own roadmap for reducing emissions. India has repeatedly declined to establish a schedule for the phase-out of coal, citing low per-capita emissions, soaring renewable energy capacity, and the necessity for cheap fuel sources. India's proposed coal power capacity is the biggest after China.

Activists have pushed for a ban on new coal-fired plants, believing that doing so would at least assist to lower the share of the polluting fuel in total power generation. Coal is anticipated to continue to be the primary fuel for producing electricity in India for decades. According to the sources, the draught, India's first attempt to update its 2005 electricity policy, also suggests delaying the closure of existing coal-fired plants until energy storage for renewable power becomes commercially viable.

In order to accommodate the strong demand for electricity, old coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 13 GW have so far been designated for operation after retirement deadline, they claimed.

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