India wants private money to build coal-fired plants despite Western opposition

India wants private money to build coal-fired plants despite Western opposition

Written by Sarita Chajanthi Singh

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India on Tuesday asked private sector companies to increase investments in new coal-fired power plants to meet a surge in electricity demand and meet nearly 30 gigawatts of additional needs by 2030, despite international pressure to halt construction of such These stations. amenities.

In New Delhi, India’s Power and Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh asked private companies to invest in coal projects and “not miss out on the growth opportunity,” according to three sources who attended the meeting.

The Indian government’s meeting with private investors comes weeks before the UN climate conference, at which France, with US support, plans to seek to halt private financing for coal-based power plants, according to a Reuters report.

The Indian Ministry of Energy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The share of private investment in the Indian energy sector started to diminish after 2018, when it was more than or equal to government investments. It currently stands at 36% of the country’s total installed capacity.

Most of the coal-based power under development is generated by state-owned companies, with Adani Power and JSW Energy being the only private companies building such plants.

Many private companies stopped building new coal-fired plants in India more than a decade ago due to lack of financing in the absence of long-term power supply bids from consumers.

But in recent years, energy demand has exceeded expectations in India, the world’s most populous country, as economic activity rebounds.

Since August, energy demand in the South Asian country has risen 18% to 20% year on year. The government expects it to rise by at least 6% annually until the end of the current decade.

During the meeting, Singh said that new estimates indicate that peak power demand in India will reach 335 gigawatts by 2030 against the current 240 gigawatts, according to the three sources.

Private power companies have been told that the majority of peak-hour electricity demand in India can be met by coal-based power plants, as storage technologies are more expensive to support solar and wind power generation, officials said.

A total of 58 gigawatts of additional coal-based capacity is in the pipeline, leaving an expected gap of more than 30 gigawatts, they said.

“The minister confirmed that the government may consider financing support for such projects (from private companies) from state-run financiers such as Power Finance Corp and REC Ltd,” one of the sources said.

The three sources who attended the meeting requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Singh told the meeting that despite the addition of coal-based power, India will still meet its climate goals of shifting to 50% non-fossil fuel power capacity as the country is also adding renewable energy projects.

(Reporting by Sarita Chaganty Singh; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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