India's coal rush - December 2012 update
- 1 2007-2011: India's coal rush gains speed
- 2 2012: The boom has slowed, but plenty of projects remain in the pipeline
- 3 Within India, grassroots opposition to coal continues to be intense -- and the opposition is showing success
- 4 Regional analysis
- 5 Region-by-region discussion
- 6 Articles and resources
2007-2011: India's coal rush gains speed
As shown in Table 1 below, India's coal plant capacity was relatively stagnant through the end of the 10th Plan on March 31, 2007. Since then, growth has been rapid, including a 79% increase in capacity from March 31, 2007 through May 31, 2012 (mostly since the beginning of 2010) and an additional 76% increase represented by projects currently under construction. 
Table 1: Coal plant capacity additions since 1985, and current capacity under construction
|Date||Capacity (MW)||Growth (MW)||Growth rate||Period|
|31-May-12||114,782||50,831||79%||(5 years, 2 months)|
|Under construction 5/31/12||87,122||76%|
2012: The boom has slowed, but plenty of projects remain in the pipeline
In August 2011, a study by Prayas Energy Group found approximately 590,000 megawatts (MW) of coal projects in the pipeline, having received or expecting imminent environmental approval. However, since the release of the Prayas study there has been a major slowdown among planners of new coal capacity. As shown in Table 2, 45,230 MW of projects were deferred (i.e. progress was on hold) as of December 31, 2012, and an additional 26,420 MW of projects had been cancelled. The reasons for the slowdown were multiple: (1) Dramatic rises in the cost of imported coal; (2) Insufficiency in domestic coal output; (3) An unfolding domestic crisis over the integrity of the coal allocation process, known as "Coalgate," (4) Difficulties obtaining financing. Nevertheless, 103,292 MW or projects were under construction as of December 31, 2012 and an additional 51,520 MW of projects were in advanced development, having achieved most milestones (permits, water, land, coal, and financing).
Table 2: Summary statistics for proposed coal plants in India
|Status||#of Plants||Capacity (MW)||Annual tons of CO2|
|Newly commissioned (since 1/1/2010)||65||41,758||246,944,318|
Within India, grassroots opposition to coal continues to be intense -- and the opposition is showing success
Table 5 shows the locations of 39 plants that have been the subject of opposition. More details may be found at Opposition to coal in India. To date, clashes over coal mines, plants, and rail lines have been less intense in 2012 than in 2011. That year saw large scale-scale protests in numerous locations, including multiple cases of violent police action against rural protesters. Among such incidents were the following:
- In January 2011 in Bihar, a farmer was killed during protests against the Nabinagar Super Thermal Power Project.
- In January 2011 in Chhattisgarh, 25 people were injured and over 100 imprisoned during protests against the KSK Mahanadi Power Project.
- In February 2011 in Andhra Pradesh, two people were killed and 25 injured during protests in Srikakulam against a plant proposed by East Coast Energy.
- In April 2011 in Jharkand, four people were killed and 21 injured during protests against over the clearing of land owned by Bharat Coking Coal Limited.
- In August 2011 in Punjab, a farmer was killed and others injured during protests against the Gobindpura power station.
- In October 2011 in Andhra Pradesh, villagers were attacked by police and a doctor leading the protests beaten during hearings on a coal plant in Ankulapaturu village.
- In November 2011 in Jharkhand, anti-coal organizer Sister Valsa John was hacked to death, allegedly by agents of local mining companies.
Opponents have halted 44% of proposed plants -- that's 5 times the expected attrition rate
In cases where opposition to coal plants has been reported, it appears that the opposition has had a high rate of success. As shown in Table 3 below, the results are as follows:
- Plants deferred - 11
- Plants cancelled - 6
- Total number deferred or cancelled - 17
- Total number of plants with reported opposition - 39
- Success rate for opponents - 44%
The success rate of 44% compares to approximately 9% of coal projects deferred or cancelled overall in India (48 out of 549 projects, as shown in Table 4 above). The result shows that when communities use employ grassroots tactics to oppose coal plant proposals that threaten to encroach on their land, water, crops, or fisheries, their chances of seeing a coal plant deferred or cancelled increase fivefold over the average rate for the country as a whole.
Opponents have been particularly successful in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra
As shown in Table 4, two states, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, account for 29,600 MW of cancelled or deferred projects, nearly half of the 64,070 MW of cancelled or deferred projects for the nation as a whole.
Table 3: Plants that have been the object of community opposition (sortable table)
|State||Plant||Reason for Opposition||Opposition Groups||Status|
|Andhra Pradesh||Ankulapatur power station phase 1||pollution concerns||Jana Vignana Vedika||Construction|
|Chhattisgarh||Athena Chhattisgarh power station||multiple||LIFE, Jan Chetana||Advanced development|
|Orissa||Babandh power station||land, displacement||Construction|
|Orissa||Balangir power station||land acquisition||Early development|
|Chhattisgarh||Baradarha power station||displacement, forests||Centre for Science and Environment||Advanced development|
|Uttar Pradesh||Bara Thermal Power Project||land||Construction|
|Gujarat||Bhadreshwar power station (OPG)||fisheries, impacts of multiple plants||MASS||Deferred|
|Gujarat||Bhadreshwar Thermal Power Project (Adani)||fisheries, impacts of multiple plants||MASS||Deferred|
|Andhra Pradesh||Bhavanapadu Thermal Power Project||multiple||Deferred|
|Chhattisgarh||Birra Thermal Power Project||displacement, impacts of multiple plants||Early development|
|Karnataka||Chamalapura power station||displacement||Chamalapura Ushnavidyut Sthavara Virodhi Horata Samithi||Cancelled|
|Maharashtra||Dahanu Power Station||agriculture, fisheries||DPBS, INTACH, KVIC, DTEPA, DTEWA, Tamarind Tree||Cancelled|
|Andhra Pradesh||Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Station||wildlife||Cancelled|
|Maharashtra||Dhopave Thermal Power Station (Mahagenco)||land acquisition||Deferred|
|Punjab||Gidderbaha power station||land acquisition||Deferred|
|Maharashtra||Girye Ultra Mega Power Project||land acquisition and displacement||Deferred|
|Punjab||GNDTP Bathinda power station||air pollution and coal ash||Joint Action Committee||Cancelled|
|Punjab||Gobindpura power station||land acquisition||Construction|
|Karnataka||Gulbarga power station||land acquisition||Advanced development|
|Andhra Pradesh||Gunipudi power station (NBPL proposal)||Deferred|
|Tamil Nadu||Hanakon Thermal Power Project||Cancelled|
|Orissa||JR Power Project||pollution of farmland, water competition||Early development|
|West Bengal||Katwa Super Thermal Power Project (NTPC)||land acquisition||Deferred|
|Chhattisgarh||KSK Mahanadi Power Project||land acquisition, displacement||Construction|
|Bihar||Nabinagar Super Thermal Power Project||land acquisition||Advanced development|
|Andhra Pradesh||Nagarjuna Construction Company Sompeta Thermal Plant||agriculture, fisheries, wildlife||Deferred|
|Punjab||Rajpura_Thermal_Power_Project||lack of local hiring for construction||Construction|
|Maharashtra||Ratnagiri Power Plant expansion||agriculture, impacts of multiple plants||Ratnagiri Zilla Jagruk Manch||Deferred|
|Punjab||Ropar thermal plant||air pollution, fly ash, agriculture||Proposed|
|Madhya Pradesh||Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project||Ex-Im Bank policy, CDM issues||Friends of the Earth||Construction|
|Andhra Pradesh||Simhadri Power Station||Fly ash, fisheries||Operating|
|Andhra Pradesh||Sree Siva Satyadeva Power Plant||coastal impacts||Cancelled|
|Gujarat||Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project||fisheries, agriculture, CDM||MASS, etc.||Construction|
|Chhattisgarh||Tamnar II Project||pollution, displacement||Jan Chetna||Advanced development|
|Karnataka||Udupi power station||Fly ash||Early development|
|Maharashtra||Veshvi power station||agriculture, fisheries||Proposed|
|Andhra Pradesh||Vizag Thermal Power Plant||land acquisition, coastal impacts||Deferred|
|Karnataka||Yeramarus thermal station||fly ash, impacts of multiple plants||Construction|
As shown in the Google map here, proposed coal projects are located in nearly all parts of India. However, as shown by the table below, some states have a greater amount of proposed capacity additions than others, with Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra accounting for 36% of all capacity under development, and 94% of all development taking place in 12 of India's 28 states.
Table 4: Projects by state
|State||#of Proposed Plants||Capacity (MW)|
Table 5: Status breakdown by state (Megawatts)
|State||Planning||Early development||Advanced development||Construction||Newly commissioned||Deferred||Cancelled||Uncertain||Unconfirmed||Total (MW)|
While coal plants are being built and planned in all parts of India, the following are areas of particular concentration:
- Western Maharashtra: Along the Konkan Coast, mostly to the south of Mumbai southward along the coast, at least a dozen projects totaling 25,785 MW have been proposed. However, none of these projects is in the Construction or Advanced Development category, and only one project, the Kinebodi power station, is in the Early Development stage. Other projects are considered Proposed, (i.e. no significant progress toward permits, land, etc.), Uncertain, Deferred, or Cancelled. A significant victory recently was the decision by Tata Power to place the Coastal Maharashtra Project on hold.
- Eastern Maharashtra: There are two concentrations, one around Nagpur and the other around Chandrapur. Around Napur, there are nine projects totaling 6870 MW. Of these, five projects are already in Construction or Operating. The remaining 4 projects are in Early Development or Unconfirmed. Around Chandrapur, there are 14 projects totaling 8,930 MW. Six of these projects are in Construction or Operating. Two are in Advanced Development.
- Orissa: Proposed coal plants in Orissa are concentrated in three areas: (1) the Jharsuguda District, a mining area in northwest Orissa, (2) the Angul District, a mining area in central Orissa, and (3) the Cuttack/Bhubaneshwar area in eastern Orissa. Several other proposed projects are distributed across the state; three are located on or close to the coast, in Ganjam, Paradip, and Sakhigopal.
- Chhattisgarh: Proposed coal plants are concentrated around Korba, around Raigarh, and around Champa and Janjgir.
- Madhya Pradesh: One concentration of proposed coal plants is in the Singrauli district, which is already among the most intensely mined and polluted locations in India. Another concentration is farther to the southwest along Highway 78 near Anuppur and Shahdol.
- Andhra Pradesh: The bulk of proposed coal plants stretch along the coast with one cluster south of Nellor and another south of Visakhapatnam. There aer also a number of projects proposed for the interior, both north and south of Hyderabad.
- Jharkhand: Proposals are distributed around the state, with no single major concentration.
- Tamil Nadu: There are three areas of concentration: around Chennai on the north coast, around Neyveli on the central coast, and around Thoothukudi on the south coast.
- Uttar Pradesh: Plants are distributed across the state, with a particular concentration in the Singrauli district.
- Bihar: Most projects remain in an early stage of development. There are three small clusters, one around Aurangabad, one arond Lahisarai, and one around Banka.
- Gujarat: Proposed plants are concentrated around the Gulf of Kutch and around the Gulf of Khambhat.
- Karnataka: Most proposed projects are in the interior, some south of Bijapur, some south of Gulbarga, some around Devarsugur, and some west of Bellary.
Articles and resources
- "Growth of installed capacity since 6th Plan," Central Electricity Authority, accessed June 2012
- The figure for current capacity as of May 31, 2012 comes from Table 2, "Summary statistics for proposed coal plants in India," which is derived from the complete table shown in Proposed coal plants in India
- Using data from the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Prayas found that 192,913 MW of coal and gas capacity had received environmental clearance, with another 508,907 MW in the pipeline and expected to be approved, for a total of 701,820 MW. Of this total, Prayas estimated that coal accounts for 84%, or 589,529 MW. See "Thermal Power Plants on the Anvil," Prayas Energy Group, August 2011.
- For plant-by-plant information, see Proposed coal plants in India.
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