The country can save up to Rs 54,000 crore in power costs and reduce air pollution by replacing expensive coal plants with renewables, according to a new analysis by Greenpeace India.
The analysis compared 2015-2016 tariff data published by the Central Electricity Authority with an “assumed” renewable energy tariff of Rs 3/kWh, it claimed in a statement.
New tariff bids for solar energy and onshore wind have dropped well below Rs 3/kWh, with solar power reaching a record low of 2.44 and wind reaching a record low of 2.64, it said.
“Analysis of India’s coal power tariff data shows that replacing the most expensive coal power plants with electricity generated by solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind can save discoms and consumers up to Rs 54,000 crore annually,” it claimed in the statement.
Greenpeace campaigner Ashish Fernandes said that it is now widely accepted that new coal power plants are not financially competitive with new renewables in India.
Fernandes said that the NGO’s analysis shows that significant cost-savings can accrue to the country and to cash-strapped discoms through a planned phase out of the most expensive coal power plants already in operation and their replacement with cheaper renewable energy.
“This will lower average electricity purchase costs across the economy, benefiting domestic and industrial consumers alike, as well as reducing subsidy burdens on state discoms.
“Shutting down the oldest and most expensive coal power plants will also yield environmental and social benefits by reducing coal consumption and air pollution, which is killing thousands every year,” Fernandes said.
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