Skip to main content

US climate change scholars to India: Depend on solar, wind, nuclear power to avoid cost overruns, CO2 emission

Kodankulam nuclear power plant, Tamil Nadu
By Our Representative
Top US-based researchers have warned that average costs for plants coming online in 2020 are Rs 4.40 per kWh (or unit) for domestic coal and Rs 5.15 kWh for imported coal, which is considerably more than the prices for photovoltaic solar and onshore wind power – Rs 2.97 per kWh and INR 3.46 per kWh, respectively, wondering why India consists on having new coal-fired plants.
Pointing out that “the country’s current coal proposals will likely lead to either more underused or 'stranded' coal plants, and/or lock-out of lower carbon and potentially less costly electricity sources”, the researchers have said, already this is starting to happen.
“From 2010 to May 2016”, say the scholars, “just over 261 GW of coal-fired capacity was implemented (i.e., in construction or completed) while 431 GW was halted (i.e., shelved or canceled)”, with “an overall implementation rate of 38%.”
“Many plant proposals were deferred or abandoned due to issues such as financial distress by the proponents, difficulty securing a coal supply, lack of power demand from cash-strapped state electricity distribution companies, and an inability to secure permitting or compulsory land acquisition because of community resistance”, they underline.
In their paper in an open access journal, “Earth's Future”, the scholars Christine Shearer (at CoalSwarm, San Francisco, California, USA), Robert Fofrich and Steven J. Davis (both at Department of Earth System Science, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, California, USA), given the cost overruns, fresh proposals will lead to “a potential loss in capital investment.”
They insist, “Plant construction costs are estimated at USD$1290/kW in South Asia”, with any new plants leading to what they call “potential stranded assets — plants that are unneeded and therefore operating well below their optimal utilization rates or retired early, leading to lost revenues.”
They add, “Here, the excess coal plant capacity represents USD$18 (Rs 1.2 trillion) to USD$230 billion (Rs 15.37) in potentially wasted capital expenditures, without accounting for fuel or maintenance costs.”
No doubt, the scholars point out, “In India, where over 20% of the population (∼300 million people) lack access to electricity”, one reason why “expansion of energy infrastructure has been seen as a crucial factor for human and economic development.”
Naturally, they add, “Given India’s large coal reserves (estimated at 87 billion metric tons [Gt])”, there is “heavy reliance of its existing energy system on coal (44% of total primary energy and 70% of electricity generation in 2015).”
Not only would depending on coal mean huge cost overruns. According to the scholars, it would adversely impact international efforts towards climate change. Thus, while the already operating coal plants have emitted about 11 Gt of CO2 since 1960, if operated for forty years at a 75% capacity factor, currently operating coal plants would emit an additional 31 Gt through 2065.”
They warn, “Coal plants under construction would add 14 Gt over their lifetimes, and proposed coal plants another 38 Gt, for a total of 83 Gt of CO2 emissions from the country’s coal plants in 2016–2065.”
To avoid all this, the scholars insist, the Government of India should do well to focus increasing “non-fossil electricity capacity” by installing its already “100 GW of solar power and 60 GW of wind power by 2022 (over the current levels of 7 and 26 GW, respectively), and raising nuclear capacity from 6 GW presently to 63 GW in 2032.”

Comments

Ramesh Muthya said…
Understood but why is nuclear getting a big recco? World is rejecting it by India has to welcome it? Seems to have unstated motives ?

Ramesh

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Social workers, architects, students, historians, common people come together, protest "politics" of renaming Ahmedabad

By Nandini Oza*
No sooner did the BJP leaders of Gujarat announce the intention of changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati just before Diwali, on November 7, 2018, many people’s mood changed from festivity to heated debate and furor across the state. For many of us, an online petition, initiated by Bandish Soparkar, on change.org protesting name change came to immediate rescue.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”