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Why India should keep coal out of its infrastructure story
(RapOnline, 10 Nov 2020) As India looks to “build back better” from the Covid crisis, the country would benefit economically, environmentally and socially by investing in clean technologies.
In late 2019, the Indian government announced a $1.4trn National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) to jump-start economic growth. This plan includes a high-profile target for the addition of 75GW of thermal power plants by 2025. At a time of overcapacity and low utilisation rates, it makes no economic sense for public or private investors to finance coal power plants in India.
That announcement was before the pandemic. The government is now expected to sharpen its focus on the investments planned in the NIP in an attempt to boost the country’s GDP, which took a huge and unprecedented hit due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
However, both debt and equity investors are wary of funding coal power plants, and the pipeline of new investments in them has shrunk. India’s share of the global coal power development pipeline has fallen from 17% to 12% in the past two years, according to the Global Coal Plant Tracker.
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