India’s power ministry is considering a proposal that would force some of its dirtiest coal plants to close.
The plan under discussion has arisen following the nation’s growing outcry against air pollution and global concerns over climate change. Evidence has shown that as renewable energy rises, coal plants in India have been running at an average of 48% capacity in the first five months of this fiscal year – a share that continues to decline.
Although the policy has not yet been finalised, the proposed plan could see a 2,600 kcal/kWh cap on the ‘heat rate’ of India’s coal plants. The proposed decision to close old plants is also estimated to boost the use of more-efficient facilities that have remained underused for years, such as Tata Power Co Ltd’s 4-gigawatt plant in Gujarat, which runs at a heat rate of 2,050 kcal/kWh.
There is predicted to be some resistance to the proposed plan from state distribution firms that rely on cheaper power from some of the plants that are set to close. And, this upset is only set to increase as more of India’s coal fleet could face closure if they fail to comply with new requirements to add pollution control equipment to their plants.
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