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Initiatives For Mitigating Carbon Footprints In Power Generation

By - King Stubb & Kasiva on December 15, 2023

Introduction:

In a significant step towards environmental sustainability, the Ministry of Power in India, under the leadership of Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Shri R. K. Singh, has implemented a series of measures to curtail carbon emissions from power projects.[1] These initiatives underline India's commitment to addressing climate change while concurrently meeting the escalating energy needs of the nation.

Perform, Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme:

At the forefront of these efforts is the Perform, Achieve, and Trade (PAT) scheme,[2] a market-based mechanism designed to enhance energy efficiency in energy-intensive large industries, particularly Thermal Power Stations consuming over 30,000 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) of energy per annum. As of the latest update in 2020-21, 226 Thermal Power Stations, accounting for approximately 197 GW, are covered under this scheme. The PAT scheme mandates these power stations to reduce their Net Heat Rate over three-year cycles, resulting in a substantial decrease in coal consumption and, consequently, a reduction of about 27.51 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Adoption of Advanced Technologies:

Several Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) have embraced cutting-edge technologies, transitioning from subcritical to supercritical and ultra-supercritical technologies. The cumulative capacity of Supercritical/Ultra-supercritical units stands at 63,830 MW (92 units) and 2,120 MW (3 units) as of October 31, 2023. This technological shift has not only improved efficiency but also significantly lowered coal consumption and emissions.

Retirement of Inefficient Units:

In line with the commitment to sustainability, the Ministry of Power has retired a capacity of about 8,059.92 MW, encompassing 99 units of inefficient and outdated thermal power generation units, from January 2018 to October 15, 2023. This strategic move aligns with the government's focus on optimizing energy production with minimal environmental impact.

Biomass Utilization for Power Generation:

The introduction of the Policy on Biomass Utilization for Power Generation through Co-firing in Domestic Coal-based Power Plants (October 8, 2021) further demonstrates India's commitment to diversifying its energy sources. This policy mandates the use of agro-residue-based biomass, co-fired along with coal in thermal power plants, thus contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable energy mix.

Non-fossil Fuel-based Energy Resources:

India has made commendable progress in expanding its non-fossil fuel-based energy resources. As of October 31, 2023, the country boasts an installed capacity of 186.46 GW from non-fossil fuel sources, comprising 178.98 GW from Renewable Energy and 7.48 GW from Nuclear Power. This constitutes approximately 43% of the total power generation capacity, with a national target to achieve 50% from non-fossil sources by 2030.

Thermal Power Projects Commissioned:

Providing a comprehensive breakdown, the Ministry highlights the thermal power projects commissioned since the financial year 2018-19, categorized into Central, State, and Private sectors. Noteworthy additions include the Nabi Nagar TPP in Bihar, Gadarwara TPP in Madhya Pradesh, and Dishergarh TPS in West Bengal, among others. The cumulative thermal capacity added to the grid from FY 2018-19 to FY 2023-24 stands at an impressive 25,091.91 MW.

Promoting Renewable Energy:

To strengthen the generation of renewable energy, the Indian government has implemented various initiatives since 2018. These include allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100% under the automatic route, waiving Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) charges for the inter-state sale of renewable energy, setting up Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Parks, and launching schemes like Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) and Solar Rooftop Phase II.

Conclusion:

India's Ministry of Power has embarked on a transformative journey to reshape the energy landscape, reduce carbon emissions, and promote sustainability. Through a combination of policy interventions, technological advancements, and a steadfast commitment to renewable energy, India is not only meeting its energy demands but doing so in an environmentally responsible manner. As the nation continues to forge ahead, these initiatives serve as a testament to its dedication to a greener and more sustainable future.


[1] https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1983097

[2] https://beeindia.gov.in/en/programmes/perform-achieve-and-trade-pat


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