Power companies have retired almost 14 GW of coal-based generation capacities over the last 18 years; power minister R.K. Singh informed the Lok Sabha.
Some 164 thermal power generating units were retired during the period, according to data compiled by the government’s power advisory arm, Central Electricity Authority (CEA). The decisions to shutter them were based on each power utilities’ techno-economic and commercial considerations.
CEA has identified another 34 units with a total capacity of 5.14 GW that have not submitted any emission control compliance plan.
“These units would be retired or shutdown as per phasing out plan and timelines given by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Ministry of Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for compliance of emission,” Singh said.
Speaking on growing electricity demand, the minister informed power demand has increased over the past few years. However, it dropped nearly 4% between April 01, 2020, and August 31, 2020. During this time, power demand was around 513,528 million units. The decline is a fallout of the pandemic.
Recent data from POSOCO, the national grid manager, indicated that power demand rose after it dipped during the COVID-19-induced nationwide lockdown. After the lockdown was lifted, the average daily power demand stood at 3,595 million units between June 1, 2020, and August 27, 2020. During the 69-day lockdown ending May 31, 2020, demand averaged 3,037 MU.
The share of non-fossil based power generation in the country has increased from 20.9% in 2014-15 to 24.9% in 2019-20, the minister informed the Lok Sabha. He said that CEA had prepared a phased implementation plan for retrofitting pollution control devices on thermal units. It involves installing flue gas desulphurization systems, adopting suitable technology for controlling particulate matter, and other emission parameters. This system removes sulfur dioxide and other poisonous gases from power plant exhausts.
Earlier this year, NTPC raised a syndicated loan worth $750 million (~₹53.5 billion) in Japanese Yen to fund capital expenditure for the installation of flue gas desulphurization systems.
Rakesh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.