Gujarat breaking with coal

The announcement that the Indian state of Gujarat will allow no new thermal coal plants seems like a really big deal.

First up, it’s striking that a state with electricity demand growing at 8-10 per cent a year has concluded that it can meet this demand entirely with renewables. That’s totally contrary to the line pushed by the government and coal lobby here in Australia, suggesting that rapid growth in electricity demand can only be met by coal.

Second, Gujarat is the home ground of both Indian PM Modi and his most notable crony, Gautam Adani. And, it appears, the decision has been motivated in large measure by the disaster that is Adani Power’s Mundra plant. As AECOM, Worley Parsons and many others in Australia can confirm, anyone who deals with Adani has a high risk of getting burned.

This is just one announcement, and perhaps it will be reversed. But, on the face of things, it seems like a huge step towards the end of coal-fired electricity, and a huge blow to the ambitions of the Adani Group in Australia.

17 thoughts on “Gujarat breaking with coal

  1. Pure ignorance here. When I google “Mudra power plant” I don’t see what the disaster is except sheer size. What am I missing?

  2. The statement is a Sybil Fawlty one (“special subject the bleeding obvious”) but you wonder why it’s being made now, with ongoing litigation to overturn the bailout. The episode confirms my observation that while Gautam Adani no doubt has influential friends in state politics, he also has influential enemies. This one comes from that camp.

  3. @Rog I didn’t see any reference to rehabilitation, and the expansion refers to seems to be by acquisition of assets in bankruptcy, not by physical addition of capacity.

  4. It’s a difficult piece to read and seems more like an Adani infomercial.

    AFAIK the Korba West Power Company plant has been mothballed since 2017. Apparently there is a finished 600mw turbine with another under construction. There are also plans for further expansion but these have yet to be approved.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to find that there has been little to no income, from generating activities, to offset the debt incurred by Korba West. The original owner Avantha Power also have a non functioning website (search for Korba and it’s a 404 – File or directory not found).

  5. When I hear the left trying to discourage the opening of new coal mines for export, some part of me is quite happy. But when I see the same people wanting to discourage local coal electricity generation I am horrified. This is way too premature. Turnbull has trashed our grids with its current management and we haven’t integrated this first wave of renewables at all well. Its partly a lack of storage issue but its also likely to be a straight management issue. The system we have adopted. So maybe it can be improved ahead of ubiquitous storage. This remains to be seen.

    Surely we could think of it as two waves of renewables. The first one being unsuccessful in terms of price reductions and the second wave as coming in with storage. To do otherwise would seem to be a form of extremism and mono-mania.

    I’ve got to look for a new manufacturing job. If the grid isn’t fixed and the electricity price doesn’t come down I feel like I’m doomed. I think we need one more generation of high tech coal-electricity production. The really high temperature efficient ones that the Japanese and Americans have just got going. One more roll-out and by the time those coal stations are getting old we’ll have all the liquid metal batteries, hydro and hopefully nuclear and they won’t be needed any more.

    This is really scary this mania to close them all down several decades too soon. Its like you are driving the car over the cliff but its me and not you in the car. I cannot get a public sector job. Isn’t this like Stalin trying to collectivise farming? Isn’t there some of the same zealotry going on here?

  6. 5% as Rog notes could be accomodated by renewables.

    But we still have the the long tail of activists “calling out: and chilling to deal with here:

    “He instanced “engineering firm, Aurecon, which recently succumbed to activist pressure and cuts ties with Adani in line with its professed ‘sustainability commitments’. Whatever Aurecon’s successes on other fronts, expect to be called out by a government representing quiet Australians”.

  7. Incidentally, the bankruptcy court ruled that for West Korba unsecured creditors were to get 100% while secured creditors only 33% of the monies owing. This could make it difficult for future projects to gain bank funding.

  8. The Queensland government has already granted to Adani rights to 270 gigalitres of groundwater and 13.5 gigalitres of water from the Suttor River.
    Now we see, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, that the Morrison government has undertaken to provide Adani Australia’s Carmichael project a total of $4.4 billion in capital subsidies, tax exemptions and deferrals, and a 10-year royalties “holiday”. Most of the funds will come from the federal government, which neglected to mention such generosity with taxpayers’ money, let alone seek their assent, during the May election campaign.

  9. I find it appalling that we cannot dig our own coal up, with wholly owned Australian companies, get all the royalties, and burn a great deal of it locally. Do foreigners really have a great deal to teach us about mining? There is something wrong here.

  10. Roj: The highest point in Gujarat is only 1,031m. The state has some potential for pumped storage in its SE corner near Ahwa as per the Blakers atlas, but limited given the large industrial demand. The state will probably need to import storage capacity from further south in the Western Ghats, or from the unlimited resources of remote Ladakh (dozens of ridges and peaks at 6,000m).

    The report highlights the large potential for offshore wind farms with higher capacity factors. The continental shelf is wide – several hundred km – so they don’t need to wait for floating platform technology. In the North Sea, long-shot plans are being developed for floating wind farms with built-in catalysers: it’s apparently cheaper to transport gas than electricity.

  11. Iran has an impressive turbine building capacity. Something to do with some kind of difficulty with imports.

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