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2009 July 13

World Bank supports coal plant modernization in India

India has been approved for a $180 million loan from the World Bank to help it modernize the country’s coal-fired power plants.

The project, which is co financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is expected to reduce India’s carbon emissions while at the same time boosting the country’s electricity production.

“More than 400 million people do not have electricity in India,” said the Bank’s Country Director for India, Roberto Zagha, in a statement.

“Making coal more efficient and less polluting is an important step for India even as the government develops longer term solutions for addressing its climate change concerns.”

According to World Bank Energy Specialist Mikul Bhatia, the project should improve the efficiency of India’s power plant by 10 to 15 percent.

“The Bank-supported project alone will help India reduce its direct greenhouse emissions by almost half a million tons of CO2 equivalent each year,” Bhatia said in a statement.

“If scaled up effectively to the remaining similar units needing rehabilitation, India could be looking at emissions cuts anywhere between 10 to 13 million tons of CO2 equivalent each year.”

While the World Bank recognizes that burning coal has negative consequences for the environment, the fact that India has an abundance of domestic coal supplies likely means that it will remain a primary source of fuel for the country’s power plants “for the foreseeable future”.

Thus, as India works to adopt other, more climate friendly power generation solutions, the only way it can continue to provide affordable electricity to its citizens is by relying on older plants made more efficient with help from the World Bank financing.

Read the full article here.