New Delhi: The Government on Tuesday said it has not formulated any plan to phase out old coal-based thermal power plants in the country.
India has set an ambitious energy transition programme, which includes having 500 GW of renewable energy capacity, by 2030.
"No Sir, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) vide an advisory dated January 20, 2023 suggested that no retirement or repurposing of coal-based power stations will be done before 2030 considering the expected energy demand scenario and availability of capacity in future," Power Minister R K Singh said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
He was replying to a question on whether the government has formulated any plan to phase out the old coal-based thermal power plants in the country, including in Odisha.
Singh said that operators of thermal power plants were also advised implementation of Renovations & Modernisation (R&M) and Life Extension (LE) of their units for running up to 2030 and beyond or operating in two-shift mode to facilitate olar and wind energy integration into the grid, wherever feasible.
Power generation is a delicensed activity as per Section 7 of the Electricity Act, 2003 and phasing out/retirement of units is decided by power generating companies based on their own techno-economic and environmental reasons, the minister explained.
Further, he said that in order to achieve higher efficiencies and to reduce carbon footprint, a large number of thermal power plants operating in the country have already adopted super-critical/ ultra super-critical technologies.
As on date, 94 coal-based thermal units of total capacity of 65,150 MW are operating with super-critical/ultra super-critical technologies, Singh said.
In another written reply, Singh said that power generation from coal-based power plants increased to 1,145.90 billion units in 2022-23 from 1,041.48 billion units in 2021-22.
Coal imports increased to 55.6 million tonnes in 2022-23 from 27 million tonnes in 2021-22, he said.
The coal imports stood at 14.2 million tonnes during April-June this year.
In another written reply, Singh said, "in the Budget speech, an announcement was made on formulation of a detailed framework for Pumped Storage Projects. At present, there are no plans to provide viability gap funding for Pumped Hydro Storage Projects."
About sharing the cess of Rs 400 per tonne of coal with the states for the development of pumped storage projects, the Minister said, "there is no such proposal under consideration."
Regarding Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LED for All (UJALA) scheme, the Minister said that under it, the total quantity of energy efficient and affordable LED bulbs and LED tubelights distributed by EESL during the last five years is 7.4 crore and 10.23 lakh, respectively.
This has resulted in an estimated annual energy savings of 9.64 billion units (kWh), he added.
Singh also informed that the UJALA scheme has resulted in large scale market transformation in the LED industry and has enabled market creation of approximately 70 crores LED bulbs annually.
A cumulative 419 crore LED bulbs and 151 crore LED tubelights have been distributed as on March 31, 2023 under the scheme. This has resulted in estimated saving of 176.19 billion units of electricity per annum, cost saving of Rs 70,477 crore per annum, avoided peak demand of 32.18 GW and 125 million tonnes of CO2 reduction annually, he added.