47.4 GW coal fired power projects cancelled in India in 2019, Report

energyworld.com Viewpoint,  International 2020-03-27 11:20:00

A staggering 47.4 GW coal fired power projects at different stages were cancelled in India in 2019 reducing total under development coal capacity to 66 GW.

The data was compiled in a report 'Boom & Bust 2020' jointly compiled by Global Energy Monitor, Greenpeace International, the Sierra Club, and Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).

Pre-construction capacity halved in just the past year in India from 60.2 GW in 2018 to 29.3 GW in 2019 with another 37 GW in under-construction stage, according to the report.

The report is the fifth annual survey of the coal plant pipeline. Its findings include a 16% year-on-year drop in capacity under construction and in pre-construction development, and a 66% drop since 2015 globally. Construction starts were down 5% from 2018 and 66% from 2015, compared to 2019.

"8.1 GW coal based thermal capacity was commissioned in India in 2019 with 8.8 GW of new coal fired capacity entering the under-construction phase. All 8.8 GW of the new construction received substantial financing from the Power Finance Corporation or the Rural Electrification Corporation, which both fall under control of the Ministry of Power and are set to merge this year," the report mentioned.

A submission made by the power ministry in the parliament on 17th March 2020 further validates the findings. In their submission the ministry mentioned that more than 23 GW capacity of coal fired power stations belonging to the private sector from under-construction category compared to earlier data.

Most of these plants started development before 2011. As the private sector is exiting coal plant development in India the public sector is stepping in and footing the bill.

Even as coal power development shrank in India, the amount of new coal power capacity added to the grid in 2019 outpaced the retirement of end of life power plants, further negatively impacting power load factor of coal plants and indicating worsening overcapacity.

"The shrinking coal pipeline in India forced by huge overcapacity, subdued demand for electricity, falling utilization factor, falling prices of renewable energy, drying investments, and increasing public resistance due to pollution gives hope for a future with reduced fossil footprint for India.

But, at the same time new capacity is being added to the grid, new projects are given clearances and infusion of public money into new projects by the government raises concerns, said Sunil Dahiya, analyst at Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

"Looking at the climate, environmental and economic crisis we face today much more needs to be done and a strict policy to not build or clear any new coal based plant with rapid retirement of older units is urgently required."

Despite the decline in development, the coal fleet grew by 34.1 gigawatts (GW) globally in 2019, the first increase in net capacity additions since 2015. Nearly 64% (43.8 GW) of the 68.3 GW of newly commissioned capacity was in China and 12% (8.1 GW) in India.

"Global power generation from coal fell by a record amount in 2019, as renewable energy grew and power demand slowed down," said Christine Shearer, lead author and Director of Global Energy Monitor’s Coal Program.

"Regardless, the number of new plants added to the grid accelerated, meaning that the world’s coal plants were operated a lot less – more plants generating less power. For banks and investors that continue to underwrite new coal plants, this means weakened profitability and increased risk."

(Writing by Alex Guo  Editing by Harry Huo)
For any questions, please contact us by inquiry@fwenergy.com or +86-351-7219322.

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