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Is Solar Replacing Coal Power In India?

October 25, 2019
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By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Matthew Stockford

 

 

It’s sometimes good to return to old stories, such as this one in the Independent in May 2017, particularly when the same old claims are still being bandied around:

   

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India has cancelled plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations – about the same as the total amount in the UK – with the price for solar electricity “free falling” to levels once considered impossible.

Analyst Tim Buckley said the shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuel and towards solar in India would have “profound” implications on global energy markets.

According to his article on the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’s website, 13.7GW of planned coal power projects have been cancelled so far this month – in a stark indication of the pace of change.

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/india-solar-power-electricity-cancels-coal-fired-power-stations-record-low-a7751916.html

So what has happened since then?

In the last two financial years, 14 GW of new thermal capacity has been added (essentially all coal), bringing total coal capacity up to 192 GW:

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 http://www.cea.nic.in/monthlyexesummary.html

And the Federal Power Ministry are expecting coal capacity to grow to 238 GW within the next three years:

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https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/08/05/india-expects-coal-capacity-to-swell-by-a-fifth-in-three-years/ 

Solar power definitely has a role to play, but as Mr Prasad noted in the article above:

“If we have to meet demand and address the intermittencies we have with solar and wind, we have no choice but to keep depending on coal-based generation in the near future.”

Which rather sums it up neatly.

24 Comments
  1. Paul Reynolds permalink
    October 25, 2019 11:42 am

    Mr Prasad stating the bleeding obvious of course – what a pity there are no similarly enlightened politicians and bureaucrats in this hemisphere. Ours favour the heads in the sand approach!

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      October 25, 2019 7:34 pm

      Politicians put their heads down or in a cloud hoping to stay in office.

      An Ostrich will dip its head into the sand at the bottom of its deep nest to turn eggs, a function for all bird eggs to mature properly.

      Birds smart. Politicians not so much.

  2. swan101 permalink
    October 25, 2019 12:01 pm

    Reblogged this on ECO-ENERGY DATABASE.

  3. October 25, 2019 12:04 pm

    Dave Pattison,
    Have you seen this piece of nonsense?

    An area of the UK the size of 22,000 football pitches could be carpeted with solar panels…

    Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said the scheme could deliver a net benefit of £800 billion to the economy by 2030 and create 850,000 skilled green jobs.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/labour-climate-change-solar-panel-net-zero-emissions-green-new-deal-a9169101.html

    Meanwhile in The Guardian Jilliam Ambrose runs with
    Offshore wind turbines ‘ *could* meet all global energy needs

    Yeh well you *could* power the world on gerbil wheels.

    • October 25, 2019 12:05 pm

      Dave Pattison wrote

    • A C Osborn permalink
      October 25, 2019 12:51 pm

      Stew, they still haven’t realised that Economics & Efficiency are more important in the real business world than “creating jobs”. Only Governments playing with Tax Payers cash can afford to think that way.
      They could employ 850,000 people to fill in all the pot holes on our roads and it would be more useful.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      October 25, 2019 1:47 pm

      That Rebecca Wrong Daily is a solicitor says all you need to know really. I doubt many would class the legal world as a business – If you have to deal with them there are usually plenty of choice descriptions for them. Socialists have no understanding of business or economics. Sadly, these days neither to the Tories.

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      October 25, 2019 7:42 pm

      … skilled green jobs

      Dig hole in ground. Put in post. Mix and pour concrete. Attach solar panel. Plug the thing into the grid.
      Repeat.
      Repeat.
      Send bid out for a robot.
      Local skilled labor force = about 7.

  4. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 25, 2019 1:26 pm

    The composition of India’s electricity generation by share of TWh of generation (as opposed to primary energy input) in 2018 was

    Oil…………………. 0.6%
    Natural Gas……. 4.8%
    Coal……………… 75.3%
    Nuclear…………. 2.5%
    Hydro electric…. 8.9%
    Renewables…… 7.8%
    of which
    Biomass………… 1.9%
    Wind……………… 3.9%
    Solar……………… 2.0%

    Source: BP Energy Statistics 2019

    • Steve permalink
      October 25, 2019 3:18 pm

      My best drinking mate is a top academic but practical engineer and was born in India. He thinks that India has a massive advantage of high gain solar and that there are many undeveloped rural areas where it could be used far more, with local night storage and eventually grid connection. Don’t knock it where it works. 2% is a very low level for India.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        October 25, 2019 4:07 pm

        The cost of storage would be prohibitive for ordinary Indians, even for use for just a few hours of the evening for anything other than a small amount of lighting and a radio. That’s not to say that they couldn’t make much more use of solar. Practical systems typically seem to range from 15-20% capacity factor looking at data on sunnyportal, so it’s not quite as sunny as say the desert SW of the USA – but still rather better than the UK.

        https://www.sunnyportal.com/Templates/PublicPagesPlantList.aspx

      • Steve permalink
        October 25, 2019 7:09 pm

        Lighting, radio and computers would be welcome in places with little of anything. During the day some aircon and domestic appliances would be possible.

      • Russ Wood permalink
        October 26, 2019 3:49 pm

        A few years ago, an NGO installed a solar power system in an Indian village. After a while, the villagers rebelled – “We want REAL electricity!”. Note that during the essential monsoon season, there won’t be enough sunlight to power ANYTHING!

  5. Phillip Bratby permalink
    October 25, 2019 2:08 pm

    “If we have to meet demand and address the intermittencies we have with solar and wind, we have no choice but to keep depending on coal-based generation in the near future.”
    It is very noticeable that we have not had one single UK energy minister in the last 20+years who has understand this basic fact.

  6. Gamecock permalink
    October 25, 2019 2:17 pm

    ‘Analyst Tim Buckley said the shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuel and towards solar in India would have “profound” implications on global energy markets.’

    ‘“profound” implications’

    Rilly?

    India is a backwater to ‘global energy markets.’ They couldn’t care less what India does. Just what kind of ‘analyst’ is Buckley???

  7. Gamecock permalink
    October 25, 2019 2:21 pm

    ‘Solar power definitely has a role to play’

    No it doesn’t!

    Using solar for centralized power production is political. It makes no sense from a financial or engineering perspective.

  8. tom0mason permalink
    October 25, 2019 5:29 pm

    India understands some very basic FACTS …
    To get industry to supply good MANUFACTURING jobs you need cheap, RELIABLE, concentrated energy (and the infrastructure to maintain it) — the energy that only nuclear, hydro, and fossil fuels can supply.

    Something that is lost on the UK’s political class. Or maybe the UK’s politicians wish for the nation to revert to a virtue signaling international non-entity of 3rd world status.

  9. Graeme Pirie permalink
    October 25, 2019 9:06 pm

    On Fri, 25 Oct 2019 at 8:23 pm, NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT wrote:

    > Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood h/t Matthew Stockford It’s > sometimes good to return to old stories, such as this one in the > Independent in May 2017, particularly when the same old claims are still > being bandied around: India has cancelled plans to buil” >

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    October 25, 2019 10:09 pm

    O/T

    Yet another climate activist fake news story in the Argus (where I am banned from responding to such stories with actual facts/research) stating so many ‘facts’ that are just blatant lies.

    https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/17991550.meet-brighton-photographer-documenting-climate-change/

    It’s know as the Dry Corridor because of the risk of drought stretching right back into history. There is absolutely nothing unusual about the current situation, and certainly no provable or even apparent link to any man-made climate change.

    Drought was clearly far more prevalent before 1750.

    Click to access cp-14-175-2018.pdf

    Despite the inevitable mentions of climate change, it’s obvious this is not abnormal, just too many people living in an area always borderline for farming/survival.

    http://www.fao.org/emergencies/crisis/dry-corridor/en/

    http://www.fao.org/in-action/agronoticias/detail/en/c/1024539/

  11. October 26, 2019 1:15 am

    The classic was when Greenpeace arrived to save a village in India. It didn’t go well.

    Indian Village Wants “Real Electricity”, Not Greenpeace’s “Fake” Solar

    Such a perfect example of green arrogance and technical incompetence.

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 26, 2019 2:36 am

      It is colonialism.

  12. October 26, 2019 9:07 am

    Is Solar Replacing Coal Power In India?

    If they can get the sun to shine 24/7 they might be on to something, otherwise…

  13. October 26, 2019 12:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.press.

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