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Environment lobby split, TERI harps on mix of renewable and storage, CSE says coal power here to stay
The environment lobby seems to be a divided house with agencies like that of The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) and Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) taking different stand on the future of power generation in India. While CSE recommends adopting clean coal technology since coal would remain central to the country’s power generation, TERI argues that India’s next phase of capacity addition should be a mix of renewable and storage since India has enough thermal capacity to meet demands until 2026.
TERI’s director general Ajay Mathur said power from new renewable capacities should come at Rs 5 per unit given the cost of solar panels drastically coming down across the globe and remaining same all across the world. Prices of Lithium battery which was $ 1000 per kilowatt/ hour in 2005 has come down to $ 270 per Kwh in 2017. “When it comes to the vicinity of $ 120 -$ 150 per Kwh, generation of storage power was possible, “ Mathur said adding the mix of renewable and storage will bring about a transition in the country’s energy scenario which was ought to happen for sustainable energy development.
According to Mathur since cost of capital was high in India renewable still hovered at above Rs 3, while in other countries of the world its Rs 1.9 to Rs 2.
CSE on the other side has argued that the government has been focused about spending on renewable to lessen pollution levels and the Rs 9021 crore spending that has been earmarked to reduce pollution levels has all gone to renewable projects. This funding has been done from National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), whose corpus has been made through clean energy cess from coal.
The finance ministry estimates that the clean energy cess collection from coal would be to the tune of Rs 54,336 crore between 2011 and 2017 end. The government would transfer only Rs 25,510 crore to NCEF, of which Rs 9,021 crore would be spend for adding renewable capacity.
Clean energy cess collection from coal should exceed Rs 94,000 crore over the next three years at a given rate of Rs 400 per tonne. Half of the next three years’ collection should be provided to the existing thermal power plants to adopt clean coal technology. But instead of giving it as a grant or subsidy it should be extended as 15 years loan at a 9.5% interest rate, which could earn the NCEF around Rs 6,200 crore. This could further fund solar and other forms of renewable projects, a CSE report said.
However, CSE estimated that the coal based power sector would require Rs 72, 000 crore investment for adopting emission reduction technology at a generation level 2, 48,000 mw by 2026, Mathur at an interactive session organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce said though India has coal reserves to generate 308 gigawatts but that was not required. The maximum demand registered so far has been 156gw. Instead India should look for a transitory method of power generation, Mathur said.
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