March 15, 2015: Following the release of CSE’s rating of the coal based thermal power plants in India, Shri. Kodikunnil Suresh and three other members of parliament raised a question in the Lok Sabha on March 12, 2015.
“Will the Minister of Power be pleased to state: a) whether the Centre for Science and Environment has observed that the Thermal Power Plants in the country are the most inefficient in the world; b) If so, the details thereof along with the reaction of the government; c) whether the Government propose to make Thermal Power Plants in the country more fuel efficient; and d) if so, the details thereof along with action taken thereon?”
The Minister of Power, Shri Piyush Goyal, in his reply to the question highlighted several initiatives that the govt has taken to improve the Indian power plants (press release attached). Some of the steps mentioned in the press release have been advocated by CSE in its study.
• New coal fired units in the 13th Plan period (2017 onwards) will only be based on Supercritical technology.
• In case old units are replaced by supercritical units, the existing coal linkages would automatically be transferred to the new units.
• The minister also stated that coal cess has been doubled to Rs. 200/tonne from Rs. 100/tonne for funding projects under the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF). (However, we note money from this fund has not been spent on research & development of clean coal technology till date).
Supercritical units, already in wide use around the world, are more efficient, consume less coal and emit less CO2 compared to conventional subcritical units widely in use across India. Switching to Supercritical units and aggressive phase out of subcritical units were some of CSE’s key recommendations in its rating.