India's coal rush - December 2012 update

From Global Energy Monitor

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. [1][2]

Table 1: Coal plant capacity additions since 1985, and current capacity under construction

Date Capacity (MW) Growth (MW) Growth rate Period
31-Mar-85 26,311
31-Mar-92 44,791 18,480 70% (7 years)
31-Mar-97 54,154 9,363 21% (5 years)
31-Mar-02 62,131 7,977 15% (5 years)
31-Mar-07 63,951 1,820 3% (5 years)
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.[3][4] 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
Planning 132 157,182 929,524,362
Early development 111 152,652 902,738,255
Advanced development 46 51,520 304,673,865
Construction 126 103,292 610,837,983
Newly commissioned (since 1/1/2010) 65 41,758 246,944,318
Deferred 28 45,230 267,476,687
Cancelled 20 26,420 156,239,975
Unconfirmed 20 24,685 145,979,704
Uncertain 6 14,660 86,694,854
Total 554 617,399 3,651,110,003

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

Regional analysis

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)
Andhra Pradesh 71 79,600
Assam 5 3,050
Bihar 26 37,030
Chhattisgarh 66 70,498
Gujarat 28 36,998
Haryana 7 6,000
Jharkhand 38 43,680
Karnataka 25 28,290
Kerala 1 2,520
Madhya Pradesh 47 57,979
Maharashtra 67 69,625
Meghalaya 2 740
Orissa 50 62,645
Punjab 12 14,120
Rajasthan 19 11,810
Tamil Nadu 32 32,693
Uttar Pradesh 38 39,540
West Bengal 20 20,581
Total 554 617,399

Table 5: Status breakdown by state (Megawatts)

State Planning Early development Advanced development Construction Newly commissioned Deferred Cancelled Uncertain Unconfirmed Total (MW)
Andhra Pradesh 19,885 9,022 10,310 7,933 2,900 11,330 5,720 300 13,160 80,560
Assam 2,300 0 0 750 0 0 0 0 0 3,050
Bihar 5,660 14,380 3,300 4,690 0 1,800 2,040 5,160 0 37,030
Chhattisgarh 13,910 18,125 13,830 11,858 1,595 4,000 540 4,000 1,200 69,058
Gujarat 11,488 6,960 1,975 5,990 5,670 2,940 1,600 0 250 36,873
Haryana 660 0 0 500 4,840 0 0 0 0 6,000
Jharkhand 6,260 22,875 660 5,455 2,170 0 2,000 0 4,960 44,380
Karnataka 2,820 11,570 5,180 0 1,950 4,000 1,450 0 1,320 28,290
Kerala 0 2,400 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2,400
Madhya Pradesh 3,740 26,530 9,200 11,909 0 5,280 1,320 0 0 57,979
Maharashtra 13,340 10,350 7,440 9,350 4,240 12,080 2,450 5,200 3,795 68,245
Meghalaya 240 500 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 740
Orissa 30,285 11,860 6,695 8,820 2,940 0 2,000 0 0 62,600
Punjab 5,660 1,320 0 3,900 0 2,640 660 0 0 14,180
Rajasthan 1,340 5,350 2,890 2,010 1,040 0 0 0 0 12,630
Tamil Nadu 18,133 4,540 2,420 5,327 953 1,320 0 0 0 32,693
Uttar Pradesh 13,180 11,220 0 6,530 6,330 2,280 0 0 0 39,540
West Bengal 8,221 0 2,320 2,100 2,750 2,600 2,640 0 0 20,631
Total 157,122 157,002 66,220 87,122 37,378 50,270 22,420 14,660 24,685 616,879

Region-by-region discussion

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


  1. "Growth of installed capacity since 6th Plan," Central Electricity Authority, accessed June 2012
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. For plant-by-plant information, see Proposed coal plants in India.

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External resources