India Seeks to Modernize Coal Plants by Halting Renovations

  • Regulators will be asked to stop approving old plant repairs
  • About 12% of power comes from plants more than 25-years old

India is seeking to modernize its thermal coal plants by asking regulators to stop approving repair and maintenance of plants older than 25 years, the nation’s coal and power minister Piyush Goyal said.

Fresh spending in old generators delay replacement with new so called super-critical plants because companies want to recoup the investments, he said.

India has shortlisted coal-fired plants with a combined capacity of 37 gigawatts for phasing out, S.D. Dubey, chairman of the power ministry’s Central Electricity Authority,said in May. The plan reflects Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to balance energy security with the need to protect the environment.

Coal-fired plants, which account for 62 percent of India’s 300 gigawatts of installed capacity, have been blamed for damaging the country’s air and water quality. India remains among the largest users of the fuel that is falling out of favor with countries from China to the U.S.

The aging plants being considered for shutdown make up about 12 percent of the country’s total capacity.