A total of 27 GW of pre-permit and permitted new coal power plant proposals in India are now superfluous to its electricity requirements. These coal project proposals could jeopardise the achievement of India’s widely-praised renewable energy target of 450 GW by 2030, a new report said on Tuesday.These surplus ‘zombie’ plants, assets that would be neither dead nor alive, would require Rs 247,421 crore ($33 billion) of investment, yet are projected to lie idle or operate at uneconomic capacity factors due to surplus generation capacity in the system.According to the analysis by Ember and Climate Risk Horizons, the private sector’s unnecessary investment on ‘zombie’ coal plants will be Rs 62,912 crore. Of this, JSW Energy, which publicly stated it will not build any new coal plants, is proposing a Rs 10,130 crore Barmer coal expansion project.Adani Group and Bajaj Group are proposing Rs 26,286 crore and Rs 17,998 crore respectively on new coal plants.Aditya Lolla, Ember’s senior analyst, said: “As India recovers from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, how the country uses scarce public resources will be absolutely crucial. By avoiding these unnecessary ‘zombie’ coal plants, India can not only save lakhs of crores of rupees, but also lower power costs and reiterate its commitment to the success of its clean energy transition goals.”


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