New Delhi: The government is working on a plan to shut down 25-40 gigawatt (GW) of old and highly polluting coal-based power plants and set up new super-efficient ones, Union power minister Piyush Goyal said.
Addressing a conference on ‘Energy Transitions,’ organised by think tank The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) here, Goyal said as per the ministry’s calculations, it will cost Rs4 crore to set up one megawatt of super-efficient coal-based thermal power capacity. That works out to be Rs1.6 trillion for 40 GW of capacity.
The minister said state-owned power producer NTPC Ltd has decided to decommission 11 GW of old coal-based power plants and that states could come forward to replace their old plants with new ones.
NTPC’s plants will be replaced in five years with an investment of Rs50,000 crore. The minister said that although solar power tariff discovered through auction has fallen below Rs3 a unit, coal-based power will continue to serve the base load in the grid.
Ajay Mathur, director general of TERI, said that if solar power tariff together with the cost of power storage systems can be limited to Rs5 a unit, then India will have no need for more coal-based power. “In 2005, the cost of solar power and battery together was Rs30 a unit. Today it has come down to Rs10 a unit. If we can bring this cost down by half, then there is no need for setting up more coal based thermal power plants,” said Mathur.
According to a report released by the think tank, current installed capacity and the ones coming up will be able to meet power demand till about 2026, keeping the country power sufficient.
Goyal said the identified old plants pollute about ten times more than what a modern super-efficient coal-based power plant will do.