Faster, cheaper and cleaner power

Context: The Sate-owned NTPC said it plans to begin work on the construction of a new coal power plant, despite it being faster, cheaper and cleaner to build solar or wind.

Why India should transition to solar and wind energy?

Record low tariffs: India has seen record low renewable energy tariffs of Rs 1.99 (2.6 US cents) per kilowatt-hour for solar power, and Rs 2.43 per kilowatt-hour for wind power. These are quite favourable as compared to tariff of electricity produced from non-renewable sources or new hydropower projects.

Solar generation is highest during summer months, which coincides with high power demand in India.

Power from the sun could also help meet the rising midday demand as the use of air conditioning increases in India.

Moreover, unlike coal based generation, solar plants offer a sustainable pathway to bridge the gap between electricity demand and supply.

Coal power generation dominates India’s power supply, followed by hydropower. Solar emerged as the third-largest source last year, with wind power close behind.
Why the coal consumption has increased?

Presently, the world is using a lot more coal due to the following reasons:

Supply shock resulting from the war in Ukraine, and

the World is speeding up its response to the energy crunch

Way forward

The $8.5 billion commitment finalised by the governments of France, Germany, the UK, the US and the European Union for a “Just Energy Transition Partnership” in South Africa — aimed at accelerating the move away from coal — could be a model for other countries.

Direct Air Capture (DAC) could comprise a large share of the investment in the broader carbon capture and storage sector, if companies can bring down costs.

Source: This post is based on the article “Faster, cheaper and cleaner power” published in Business Standard on 2nd May 22.

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