The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has revised the National Electricity Plan (NEP) after getting feedback from more than 30 state-owned and private institutions, mostly questioning the redundancy of coal. From retiring coal-based power completely, the CEA has said India would need 6,440 Mw thermal power during 2017-22.
In the earlier version of the NEP, which was out in 2017, the CEA had said the country did not need coal-based capacity addition till 2022.
However, the CEA said coal-based power projects of 47,855 Mw were likely to yield benefits during the period 2017-22. They are currently under different stages of construction. This translates into a likely capacity addition of 176,140 Mw in the next five years, according to the plan.
The plan has made capacity addition assumption based on projected growth in power demand of 6 per cent annually till 2022. Growth will, however, slow to 5.5 per cent till 2027. The plan has discounted the effect of electric mobility on the electricity demand in the coming years, indicating no significant change in government policy for promoting of electric vehicles.
Source: NEP 2018The coal requirement has been worked out considering 30 per cent reduction in hydro generation due to failure of monsoon, which is being supplemented by coal-based generation.
The World Energy Council (WEC), which was one of the agencies that gave feedback on the report, said the larger the renewable capacity addition, the larger will be the cycling stress on the coal-based power plants and the lower will be the power factor.
“Moreover, peak demand will have to be met by the conventional power plants. Renewable Energy (RE) addition will only add additional cost and investment requirement and would lower the thermal plant load factor.
An addition of RE capacity without storage will not make any sense,” said the WEC. It said using coal-based stations to balance renewable power would lead to excessive stress and should be avoided.
The CEA also said the coal-based capacity of 22,716 Mw is considered for retirement during 2017-22. These are the units which cannot be retrofitted with emission control technology for various reasons. Additionally, a coal-based capacity of 25,572 Mw, has been considered for retirement during 2022-27, which will be completing 25 years of operation by March 2027.
Capacity addition assumes renewable capacity addition to be 1,17,756 Mw during the same period. It is estimated that about 268 mt of CO2 emission will be avoided annually by the end of FY22 due to the addition of renewable energy sources.