India makes room for more coal as rains fail
India is the fastest-growing large economy in the world.
Currently, 240 million Indian citizens don't have access to electricity, and their population is projected to top 1.5Bn by 2030, up 180 million from 1.32Bn today.
Key to supporting that growth is India's National Electricity Plan, which calls for an additional 176,140 MW of capacity over the next 5 years. That's 3.25 times the size of Australia's NEM.
The below article, featured in yesterday's Business Standard News, highlights the role of coal in underpinning an ambitious Renewable Energy target of 40% by 2030.
Most people understand the intermittent nature of Wind and Solar and the need to have dispatchable power or storage to fill the gap when the wind doesn't blow, and the sun doesn't shine. But hydro is also subject to natural variability.
Case in point; the recent upward adjustment of coal's role seeks to mitigate the 30% downward revision of hydropower due to lower than expected rainfall during the traditional monsoon season.
India's Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has mapped out the broad basis for coal-fired power over the next 10 years:
The 47GW of capacity currently under construction will mostly act to replace the planned retirement of the old coal-fired plant through to 2027, reducing the emissions intensity of the fleet in line with its Paris Climate Agreement commitments.
Coal requirements to fuel the fleet in 2022 and 2027 are projected to be 735 million and 877 million tonnes, respectively.
Over the same period, Renewable Energy (RE), including hydro, wind and solar, is expected to grow by around 117,000 MW. This will support growth in demand for electricity, and if projections hold, RE could supply 40% of India's power by 2027-2030.
The issue is the capacity factor. Solar, for example, delivers an average of 20% of its installed capacity. And wind typically achieves 30%.
Far from being 'dead' as many renewables advocates claim, coal will continue to provide reliable, affordable baseload power for decades to come.
National Electricity Plan revised to make room for more coal
9 April 2018 | Shreya Jai | Business Standard News
Coal requirement has been worked out considering 30% reduction in hydro generation due to failure of monsoon...