This study by Vasudha Foundation has created a comprehensive mapping of all existing and proposed coal fired power plants on water related parameters. It monitors the generation of coal based thermal power plants in river basins, that are affected by water scarcity and reviews how the power generation is impacted due to this. The research also observes how for the purpose of securing power generation in water scarce basins, other uses of water are compromised.
While in recent times there has been a substantial scale up of renewable energy generation, with the Government having a target of increasing the installed generation capacity from solar alone to be 100 GW by 2022 and all other renewable energy fuel put together to 175 GW by 2022, thermal Power generated by using coal as fuel, remains the major source of power in India. Thermal Power Plants contribute approximately 61% of India’s total energy needs. The presence of coal across many states in India makes it the most abundant fossil fuel in the country.
In recent times, a number of factors have significantly impacted India's power sector. Close to 40 GW of commissioned and under construction coal power plants are already in the category of “non-performing assets”. One major factor that has resulted in the coal power plant being “stressed” is amongst other, “unavailability of raw water”.
At the same time, parts of India have been predominantly drought prone in the last few years. This year alone, as of September, 2018, out of 718 districts in India, 251 districts, i.e. around 35 percent, have noted “large” rainfall deficit as per Indian Meteorological Department
This study delves deep into the current impacts of water shortage on electricity generation by coal power plants and shows how a business as usual water projection scenario could potentially impact power production through coal. Recommendations of the study are addressed to policy and decision-makers.
The research was supported by Heinrich Boll Stiftung.