India’s latest plans for thermal power include a 40% increase in coal consumption.

After the completion of these projects, India will burn 292 million tonne (MT) more coal yearly, according to power minister RK Singh’s announcement that the country will add additional 25 to 30 gigawatts (GW) of thermal power to its existing 49 GW of coal-based plants.

The typical plant load factor (PLF) in India is 65%-75%, and it takes about 3.5–4 MT of coal to produce 1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. According to the revised plan, total coal usage will grow by 38% from present levels, with 3.7 MT of coal being consumed for every GW.

The capacity of coal-based power generation as of March 2023 was 212 GW. By 2030, it is anticipated to be 260 GW. By 2030, India will have roughly 290 GW of coal power if the additional 30 GW capacity announced is put into operation.

In FY23, 777 MT of coal—including 55 MT of imported coal—was consumed by the 180 thermal power plants scattered across the nation. If the coal power plants, which have a gestation period of 5-7 years, are developed, this is projected to increase to roughly 1,069 MT coal.

The revelation by the power minister caught everyone off guard because little than a week prior, an India-led G20 declaration made significant mention of green energy ambitions. However, the G20 had not established a deadline for getting rid of fossil fuels, which are the main cause of global warming.

India has committed higher goals than some of the more industrialized nations, including the US, Russia, and China, and is on track to meet all of its pledges under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The nationally determined contributions (NDCs) state that by 2030, India must have 50% of its installed power capacity come from non-fossil fuel sources and reduce its GDP’s emission intensity by 45% from 2005 levels. By 2030, India is anticipated to increase its non-fossil fuel power generation capacity to 60% from its current 44% level. According to reports, India has already reduced its GDP’s emissions intensity by 33% since 2005.

However, the determination to increase thermal power capacity rather than shut down polluting plants, even after launching dozens of clean energy initiatives, demonstrates India’s steadfast desire to provide energy security in order to support economic growth.

In order to prevent a power shortfall from slowing India’s rapid economic development, the government has started moving forward on a number of fronts, including renewable energy, energy storage systems, essential minerals, global grid links, and green hydrogen.

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