Net Zero Is Over

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Coal Meets India’s Record Power Demand As Net Zero Gets Sidelined

Dirty coal is dead, and the future is renewable energy. Or so the heavily bankrolled green industrial complex would have us believe. Reality is starkly different, however, as the Global South’s embrace of fossil fuels demonstrates.

India is a prime example. Having the planet’s largest population, the country will register the world’s highest rise in power demand for this decade and is expected to do the same over next three decades. Meeting this need for electricity is good old coal, the energy workhorse of the West’s Industrial Revolution in the 19th and 20th centuries.

This pattern in the subcontinent is expected to hold at least until 2070, making a much ballyhooed decarbonization merely the wishful thinking of political and corporate elites who call on citizens to subsidize their net zero illusion.

In the first half of 2024 alone, India’s power consumption rose by 14%, with peak demand recently hitting 235,000 megawatts (MW). The country’s Central Electricity Authority forecasts the peak to reach an unprecedented 260,000 MW this year and 400,000 MW by 2030 or sooner.

On May 22, the State Load Dispatch Center in the capital city of Delhi reported a record demand of 8,000 MW, the highest in its history. Officials expected demand to continue climbing. Across the country, the peak demand in most days of April 2024 was higher than the previous year.

Such power needs can only be met by readily dispatchable energy sources like coal, gas and nuclear. Coal provided 80% of April’s historic energy demand in the country. Power generation at nuclear plants rose 21% during the period.

Despite its popularity, hydropower continues to disappoint. In fact, the lack of adequate hydropower is expected to cause a 14% shortfall in electricity generation in June 2024, the widest supply gap since 2009-2010.

The obvious benefits of coal over renewable sources are so great that even the Indian state of Rajasthan, which has the largest amount of solar capacity, is now gravitating toward coal. Rajasthan’s government has decided to speed up the sale of the state’s coal mining blocks. One cannot blame them, as residents in the state experienced 10-12 hours of power blackouts in recent days due to a shortage in production and supply.

With demand peaking to unprecedented levels, the Indian government has ordered mining units to ramp up production. Thermal plants now have 25% more coal in stockpiles than the previous year, yet expect fast depletion of supplies.

With a pithead stockpile of 85 million metric tons exceeding last year’s inventory by 30%, Coal India, Ltd., produces more than 80% of the country’s coal. The increase in output is partly the result of the government’s huge capital expenditure in additional mining capacity. Not quite halfway through 2024, coal production is up more than 7% compared to a year ago and power generation by coal-fired plants is nearly 9% higher.

Despite these efforts, a June shortfall in power generation is expected. In May, the power ministry invoked emergency powers for the first time to direct power plants fueled by natural gas and imported coal to operate at full capacity. The ministry also decided to revive 5,000 MW of idled coal plant capacity and defer maintenance closures at many other coal-fired generators.

Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh said he would “not compromise” economic growth when it comes to securing adequate energy supplies.

Even Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, who leads on climate issues, said, “While we are increasing our renewable capacity, we will also have to rely on coal power until we achieve the objective of a developed India.”

Westerners who have seen power prices spike and economies suffer under “green” policies might take a lesson from India, whose commitment to coal is rooted in its dedication to economic growth as a sovereign nation.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. ……”The increase in output is partly the result of the government’s huge capital expenditure in additional mining capacity.”……

    Read this & cry into your lentil soup Green wankers. No amount of protest, UN directives or tears is going to undo the determination of a nation which has backed its future on digging coal out of the ground & burning it.

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