The Paris Agreement on Climate Change does not in any way stop India or any country from meeting its energy needs from whatever sources of energy that one may choose, the government told the Rajya Sabha recently. Replying to supplementaries, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said coal will continue to remain our mainstay as it was a domestic raw material for producing energy. “Paris Agreement does not in any way stop the government or any country from meeting its energy needs from whatever sources of energy one may choose. India is giving a big thrust to renewable energy. Our plans are to use renewable energy manifold times,” he told members during the Question Hour.
He also said that coal was India’s domestic raw material and it “will remain to continue to remain our mainstay and there was no such Agreement in Paris that will stop us from continuing to encourage coalbased generation of power.” Goyal said the country has sufficient capacity of thermal power plants and there was a thrust on renewable energy also to ensure that clean energy is produced. To a specific question for allowing Rajasthan a thermal power plant, the Minister said “right now, the proposal is not to encourage the newer power plants which are far located far away from the pithead coal mines”. Replying to other questions, he said the government has proposed to take up to one lakh MW of power production from solar energy by 2022, which is five times the current levels.
He said the country also plans to produce up to 1.75 lakh MW of wind energy. Goyal said old thermal power plants consumed a lot of water for power production as they used the old open cycle cooling technology, under which 120 litres of water was used per unit of energy produced. “More than 90 per cent of power plants set up are on new technology. At present, around 12,000 MW of power plants are continuing to work on open cycle cooling technology, which are largely state power units and Government of india is not in a position to force their shutting. However, the Centre is in constant touch with states in this regard,” he said. As per a new notification, all power plants are required to reduce their water consumption to 2.5 cubic metres per MW unit of power, the Minister said, adding that they will now be using recycled water from water treatment plants located within 50 kms of the plant.