India’s coal-fired power generation backbone: NTPC chief

Amid reports of coal shortages and power outages across the country, electricity giant NTPC’s chairman and chief executive, Gurdeep Singh, said June 22 that coal-based power generation Coal is the backbone of electricity supply and will remain so for the next two-three decades.

Singh, who was attending a roundtable at the BloombergNEF summit in the nation’s capital, opined that instead of talking about phasing out coal-fired power plants, India should focus on dispatchable renewables.

“Why are people so worried about coal? Today we supply three-quarters of the electricity from coal-fired power plants. These coal-fired power plants are the backbone (of the country’s power supply or base load),” he said.

READ ALSO : NTPC increases coal from its own sources

“What we need to look at is how to reduce coal-based generation rather than reducing or phasing out coal-fired power plants. Let’s talk about that now. It’s too early to talk about (phasing out coal). I think coal (electricity based on coal) is going to stick around for two to three decades,” he added.

Meanwhile, India has set a target of having 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

Among other things, the head of the NTPC believed that the country should make this renewable energy dispatchable and reliable. But, he further emphasized the importance of making 24X7 power affordable and demand-driven for consumers. “My concern is that we may have to start new coal-fired power plants to meet the requirement,” Singh said.

To help reduce fossil fuel-based electricity consumption, Singh suggested that cost-effective solar and wind power can supplement coal-based thermal power during the day.

Furthermore, he was of the opinion of having new, efficient and environmentally friendly coal-fired thermal power plants rather than operating old and inefficient power plants.

READ ALSO : Stock of coal over 52 MT; sufficient for the 24-day needs of power stations

Apart from these, the NTPC MD said it is important that low-cost, long-term finance is made available in the country to accelerate the growth of renewable energy.

National electricity giant NTPC supplies a quarter of India’s electricity. It also enters the hydro, solar and wind power segments and aims to have 60 GW of renewable energy capacity in the next decade.

With entries from PTI.

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