Delhi's coal conundrum

Should Badarpur thermal power plant in Delhi be allowed to operate?

In India, policy makers and generating companies assert that coal-based power is crucial to meeting India’s energy needs since it is cheap. We, as environmentalists, have grudgingly come to accept this argument, despite coal’s reputation as highly polluting. The reason is India’s low energy access and low per capita consumption. But we need to examine this assumption carefully for each and every plant—broad generalisations can be misleading.

Last month, Delhi Transco Limited’s (DTL), the Delhi Government-owned transmission utility, called a meeting with members of Delhi Power Procurement Group, comprising representatives from various distribution companies to discuss power availability and allocation. The minutes of the meeting reveal that Delhi’s own sources of power generation are some of the most expensive in the country. These are highly polluting as well.


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