India’s coal generates power as wind farms sit idle

Amid the clamor surrounding the intensive use of coal in China and India, one might not realize that these countries have some of the largest renewable energy installations in the world.

In fact, I come from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which is often compared to Scandinavia for its large number of wind farms. Representing 25% of the country’s wind capacity, the state owns the largest share of these generation assets in a country of 1.3 billion people.

Yet even Tamil Nadu relies heavily on coal to meet its electricity needs, with emergencies and blackouts being the order of the day whenever there are fuel shortages. It’s pretty much the same across the country, where 70% of the electricity comes from coal.

The vaunted wind farms are of little help in such emergencies. Yes, they produce electricity, but it is very insignificant, only 4.6 billion units compared to coal 92 billion units. Although wind represents 10% of the country’s total installed capacityIn the electricity sector, its total contribution to production is less than 3%. Wind farms simply cannot produce electricity on demand, and certainly not in the amount that big cities need.

Again, power cuts have become the norm in Tamil Nadu; there is already a huge impact on peoples lives,” the former chief minister of the state said.

Last month, Tamil NaduPrime Minister pleaded for more coal because the offer was extremely low: Chief Minister MK Stalin has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding his intervention to ensure the supply of 72,000 (million tons) of coal per day.

Even a small hitch in the coal supply leads to widespread blackouts across an entire state. This reveals that the state’s wind capacity is an overstated asset that cannot supply when electricity is needed. Wind farms only work well during the months of optimal wind, which means that they are useless for more than half of the year.

Those responsible for delivering power to the people are aware of this pathetic situation and, Thereforecontinue to invest in fossil fuels, particularly coal.

The state recently approved the construction of an additional 2,640 megawatts of capacity at a 1,600 megawatt coal plant despite opposition from various quarters. In total, 607 hectares were acquired for the installation of arranges 2 and 3 au Super Critical Thermal Power Project in Oudangudi. The plant will try to imports 30% of its coalfrom Indonesia, South Africa, Australia and China.

Moreover, the Federal Government of India has now decidedto tackle the electricity crisis by invoking Section 11 of the Electricity Act, which requires all imported coal-fired projects to produce electricity at full capacity.

Instead of reducing coal plants, as climate pessimists demand, India is increasing its dependence on coal. With a prediction of a severe shortage in the coming monthsthe federal government steps in to import more coal and avoid more blackouts. Coal India would import coal for blending on a government-to-government basis and supply… to thermal power stations of state producers and independent power producers,” the official said. The Federal Department of Energy has declared in a letter of May 28.

The federal government asked coastal mills to import as much coal as possible and promised to provide loans to do so. The demand for electricity from coal-fired power plants is so high that the state of Tamil Nadu and a few others have allowed factories to raise prices.

India’s vast network of wind farms is little more than an expensive artifact that supports a pretentious and moral “green” posture while draining taxpayers atfinance its facility and operating grants.

Vijay Jayaraj is a research associate at the CO2 CoalitionArlington, VA., and holds a master’s degrees degree in environmental science from the University of East Anglia, UK.

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