Power Generation: Scenario, Challenges, Mitigation and Way Forward
Published on : Wednesday 03-05-2023
In this two-part series, M K Srivastava presents an overview of the global scenario, emerging challenges, mitigation and way forward in power generation, and the NTPC perspective.
The power sector is passing through a transition phase on account of Climate Change Concerns. This paper summarises the approach taken by Govt of India to tackle the Climate Change as presented in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategies (LT-LEDS) documents and the strategy adopted by NTPC in the wake of the commitments made by Govt of India in NDC and LT-LEDS. NTPC has already identified and taken proactive steps to seize the business opportunities as well as fulfil the commitments of Govt of India. NTPC is the first Energy Company in India to declare its Energy Compact goals as part of UN High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE) and it is among the few organisations globally to declare its Energy Compact goals. NTPC has announced plans to add 60 GW of renewable energy (wind and solar) and reduce its net energy intensity by 10 per cent by the year 2032. Further, NTPC has signed a Statement of Intent with NITI Aayog on 20th July, 2022 to develop its Net Zero GHG emissions Roadmap. The paper presents some of the key activities undertaken by NTPC.
The world is passing through a transition phase, probably the most important transition phase in the history of modern civilisation. When I say `We’, I mean everyone, from an individual, a company, a sector, a country and the entire world. Compulsion for transition is due to the climate change occurring in the globe and each and every one has responsibility towards curbing it.
Everyone needs to adapt to the transition irrespective of the fact whether the reasons are intrinsic or extrinsic. It starts from changing the lifestyle for the environment, as our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched a campaign in 2022; an India led Global Movement to nudge individual and collective action to protect and preserve the environment. However, at a country level, India is undergoing multiple transitions:
1. A demographic transition that leads to demands for job creation,
2. An agrarian and urbanisation transition, and
3. Rapid infrastructure growth.
All three are energy intensive and the entire energy sector is passing through a transition phase on account of Climate Change Concerns.
Steps taken by Govt of India
Although historical contribution of India to cumulative global GHG emissions is minuscule (~3%) despite having a share of ~17% of the world’s population and per capita annual emissions of India is about a third of the global average, India has already updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets in August 2022 based on Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Panchamrit (five nectar elements) pledges at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) of the UNFCCC including the target of net-zero emissions by 2070:
i. Meet 50% of India’s cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.
ii. Reduce the emission intensity of GDP by 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.
iii. Put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on the traditions and values of conservation and moderation, including through a mass movement for LiFE – Lifestyle for Environment as a key to combating climate change.
However, all these targets and commitments world over emanate from the fact that we need to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C. Climate science has clearly established that global surface temperature increase is directly proportional to cumulative emissions and limiting the rise in global temperatures requires global GHG emissions to be kept within a specific limit referred to as the global carbon budget.
A disproportionately large part of the global carbon budget has been used by developed countries. As per IPCC Report of 2021, the world, from 2020, has a remaining carbon budget of 500 gigatons of carbon dioxide (GtCO2), to have a 50% probability of limiting global warming to 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels.
The Climate Equity Monitor (CEM), an online dashboard, estimates that India’s fair share of the remaining carbon budget for a 50% probability of staying within 1.5°C temperature increase is 89.4 GtCO2. With respect to historical cumulative emissions prior to 2020, it finds that India has a carbon credit of 337.59 GtCO2 due to its unutilised share of the part of the global carbon budget consumed till 2020.
India in its long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LT-LEDS) released at COPT27, laid out its approach to low-carbon development pathway, taking note of the development challenges facing it in the context of climate change and cognizant of its historical traditions and culture that seeks harmony and balance between human society and nature. India’s approach to the development of its LT-LEDS is underpinned by the following four key considerations, related to the national and context of its energy and emissions future, in a global climate and development situation:
1. India has only a minimal historical contribution to the consumption of the global carbon budget and its annual per capita emissions remains modest. India’s per capita emission is 2.46tCO2e, well below the global average of 4.79tCo2e.
2. India is a developing country with low per capita energy use, and with considerable energy needs for development. India’s primary energy consumption per capita in 2019 was 28.7GJ, considerably lower that both developed country peers (USA – 282.2, Canada – 340GJ, UK – 107GJ) and comparative developing countries (Brazil – 58.2GJ, China – 101.3GJ and South Africa – 100GJ).
3. However, mindful of the need to combat climate change and the potential for continued technological and competitive opportunities from a low-carbon development pathway, India will pursue low-carbon development strategies within its fair share of the global carbon budget, aimed at meeting India’s 2070 net-zero pledge, on the basis of equity and in accordance with the principle of CBDR-RC and national assessments of its development futures.
4. India’s growth and development is also essential to build climate resilience and mitigate the climate risk and vulnerability that India will face with increasing global warming.
Policy measures taken by NTPC
Energy sector is the backbone of the economy, Power sector is the backbone of the energy sector and NTPC is the backbone of the Indian power sector. Therefore, we have a huge responsibility on our shoulders to provide energy security to the country, to sustain the economic growth, to sustain the employment and livelihood in the country and to sustain an environment friendly lifestyle; ultimately contributing to the goal of climate change mitigation. If electricity is removed from the energy sector the alternate options before the public to meet even their basic necessities, shall have much more adverse impacts on environment and climate change.
NTPC being a pioneer in the power sector in India has also undertaken the issues related to climate changes proactively. NTPC has adopted a vision statement, “Going Higher on Generation, lowering GHG Intensity”, way back in 2012 in order to internalise the efforts towards mitigating climate change.
NTPC is the first energy company in India to declare its Energy Compact goals as part of UN High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE) and it is among the few organisations globally to declare its Energy Compact goals. NTPC has announced plans to add 60 GW of renewable energy (wind and solar) and reduce its net energy intensity by 10 per cent by the year 2032. Further, NTPC intends to join at least 2 international alliances and groups to facilitate clean energy research and promote sustainability in the energy value chain by 2025.
NTPC has signed a Statement of Intent with NITI Aayog on 20th July, 2022 to develop its Net Zero GHG emissions Roadmap. The Statement of Intent seeks to formalise a framework of cooperation between the parties to facilitate NTPC to strategise on diversification of its generation mix to eventually reduce its GHG emissions and become Net Zero emitter of GHG.
(Part 2 of the series, Business Opportunities Identified by NTPC, will appear in the June 2023 edition)
Shri M K Srivastava, Executive Director (Engineering) at NTPC Ltd, has been associated with NTPC for over three and a half decades now. He served as Executive Director (IT) and Chief General Manager (Kawas Gas Project & Shared Services Centre, Western Region earlier. With an illustrious experience of holding a spectrum of significant decision making positions throughout his tenure, he is a well known stature among the elitist brass of NTPC technocrats.
Shri M K Srivastava played a pivotal role in the Engineering of majority of NTPC’s coal based thermal power plants, gas based combined cycle power plants and hydro power plants. He spearheaded the development of new guidelines, policies and procedures in C&I Engineering and IT and is credited with the success of new bidding processes in NTPC. He has also been associated in the commissioning of several C&I systems at site. He has contributed immensely in the development of Integrated Monitoring system for Bottom Ash Evacuation, Intelligent cable engineering and ICS software for which several copyrights have been obtained by NTPC. Under his tutelage and direction, many new initiatives, viz., digitalisation in power plants, complete water management, etc., have been undertaken.