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India doubled new coal power capacity in 2023: Global Energy Monitor

The survey also revealed a substantial increase in coal power proposals in India, with both public and private sectors proposing 11.4 GW of new capacity

Coal, fossil fuel

Photo: Bloomberg

Nandini Singh New Delhi

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In 2023, India's coal power sector witnessed a significant shift, with the addition of 5.5 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity, equivalent to what the European Union retired during the same period, according to the Global Energy Monitor's annual survey.

This year marked a doubling in new coal capacity compared to 2022, and it represented the lowest rate of coal-fired generating capacity retirement in India in eight years, with no units over 30 megawatts (MW) retired.

The survey also revealed a substantial increase in coal power proposals in India, with both public and private sectors proposing 11.4 GW of new capacity, the highest level since 2016. This includes the revival of long-stalled projects, indicating a significant push to expand coal power infrastructure.

Globally, coal power capacity grew by 2 per cent in 2023, mainly due to a decrease in retirements and a significant rise in new capacity in China. The Global Coal Plant Tracker data shows that 69.5 GW of coal power capacity was commissioned worldwide, while only 21.1 GW was retired, resulting in a net increase of 48.4 GW. This brings the total global coal power capacity to 2,130 GW.

Outside China, new coal power construction slowed significantly in 2023, reaching its lowest point since the Global Energy Monitor began recording in 2015. The EU is expected to see an increase in coal power retirements, exemplified by Germany's closure of 15 coal power units, amounting to 4.4 GW.

To achieve the goal of phasing out operational coal power by 2040, an average of 126 GW of coal power capacity would need to be decommissioned annually over the next 17 years, representing a 6 per cent decline per year. This task is made more challenging with 578 GW of coal plants currently under construction globally.

China's role in the expansion of global coal capacity was significant in 2023, with the country responsible for 68 per cent (47.4 GW) of the new capacity. Despite pledging to "strictly control" new coal power projects, China initiated construction on new projects at a rate not seen since 2015 and only retired about 3.7 GW of its operating coal capacity. China currently holds 70 per cent of the global pre-construction coal pipeline and faces the challenge of either cancelling new coal power or retiring 30 GW of coal power capacity by 2025 to fulfil its climate commitments.

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First Published: Apr 11 2024 | 12:08 PM IST

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