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India to shut down thermal power plants in phases

India aims to become carbon neutral by 2070

coal-power-plant-climate-change-global-warming-reuters (For representation) A coal-fired thermal power station | Reuters

In a bid to fufill the commitment made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Glasgow Environment Summit two months ago that India would become carbon neutral by 2070, the Centre has decided to phase out the India's thermal power plants. 

While speaking at the Energy Summit organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce that Union Energy Secretary Alok Kumar said to achieve a carbon balance, the country will have to switch to an alternative system within 50 years. All thermal power plants in the country will be shut down by 2070 to reduce carbon emissions.

Switching to renewable energy would reduce the toxicity of carbon emissions. A guideline is being prepared to make use of solar energy, compressed biogas, hydrogen and battery power instead of thermal power, which presently accounts for more than 60 percent of India’s total installed power generation capacity. 

The decision to completely stop the production of coal in the power sector will be implemented. The current thermal power generation is two lakh megawatts per day. In ordert to end this completely in 50 years, at least 4000 MW of thermal power will have to be reduced every year.

The center aims to generate five lakh megawatts of solar power instead of thermal power. At present, solar power generation is only one lakh megawatt. The Union Ministry of Power hopes that the battery technology will be developed in such a way that it can store large amounts of energy. Battery storage facilities may be similar to power substations. During the daytime, solar energy can be stored in the batteries and then it can be distributed later during night.

The Center also hopes to develop hydrogen technology for power plants to generate electricity. The turbine that produce electrcity can be powered by compressed biogas (CBG) and hydrogen. 

Modi had said at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow that environmentally conscious lifestyle choices can go a long way in tackling climate change. He urged to make 'Lifestyle for Environment' a global mission. He also said that India is working very hard on tackling climate change related issues.

Closing down 20-year-old thermal power plants can save Rs 53,000 crore over five years, according to an analysis by Climate Research Horizon. Old coal-fired thermal plants use more coal to produce power, said the study.

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