NTPC Chairman Gurdeep Singh was of the view that instead of talking about phasing out coal-based thermal power plants, India needs to focus on dispatchable renewable energy.
Amid the reports of coal shortage and power outages in the country, state-run power giant NTPC’s Chairman and Managing Director Gurdeep Singh on 22 June said that coal-based electricity generation is the backbone of power supply and is going to stay this way for the next two-three decades.
Singh, who was participating in a panel discussion at the BloombergNEF Summit in the national capital, was of the view that instead of talking about phasing out coal-based thermal power plants, India needs to focus on dispatchable renewable energy.
“Why are people too much concerned about coal? Today we are supplying three-fourths of the electricity from coal-based plants. These coal-based power plants are the backbone (of power supply in the country or baseload),” he said.
“What we need to look at is how to reduce coal-based generation rather than phase down or phase out coal-based power plants. Let’s now talk about that. It is too early to talk about that (phasing out coal-based plants). I think coal (based power) it is going to stay for two to three decades,” he added.
Meanwhile, India has set a target of having 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
Among other things, the NTPC chief opined that the country needs to make this renewable energy dispatchable and reliable. But, he stressed more on the importance of making affordable and reliant 24X7 power on demand for consumers. “My concern is that we may have to start new coal-based power plants to meet the requirement,” Singh said.
On way to help reduce fossil fuel-based electricity consumption, Singh suggested the economical solar and wind energy can complement coal-based thermal power during the day.
Also, he was of the view of having new efficient and environment-friendly coal-based thermal power plants rather than running old and inefficient ones.
Apart from these, the NTPC MD said it is important that low cost long-term funding is made available in the country to accelerate the growth of renewable energy.
The state-run power giant NTPC supplies one-fourth of the electricity in India. It is also entering the hydro, solar and wind energy segments and aims to have 60 GW of renewable energy capacity in the next decade.