NIAS Transition Plan for an Integrated Approach to Development and Environment in the Power Sector (NIAS/NSE/EE/U/RR/14/2021)

Publication Type:



NIAS, Bangalore, p.48 + iv pages, 9 tables and 11 figures (2021)


Energy Transition, High-Efficiency-Low-Emission Thermal Power Plants, Nuclear Power Plants, SDG 7


Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. During Financial Year 2020-21, Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) sources generated only 10.7 percent of the electricity generated by utilities during FY 2020-21, while coal-fired Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) generated 71 percent. This report details a transition plan for India’s power sector involving the progressive retirement of 36 GW of total capacity in 211 TPPs (unit size & 250 MW) based on key performance parameters like efficiency, specific coal consumption, technological obsolescence, and age. The resulting shortfall in electricity generation is made up by increasing the utilization of existing High-Efficiency-Low-Emission (HELE) TPPs and the integration of 69 TPPs, 10 Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs), and 19 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that are currently at various stages of construction. As per the NIAS Transition Plan, India’s power generation from TPPs is expected to reduce from the 2018-19 level of 74 percent (1022 TWh) of total electricity generation by utilities to 57 percent (1234 TWh) of the total electricity (2172 TWh) likely to be generated during 2029-30. Besides, NPPs with a total capacity of 14.48 GW by March 2030 can generate 4 percent (85 TWh) of the total electricity generated by utilities during FY 2029-30. The NIAS analysis confirms that the combined capacity of the residual TPPs (220 GW) and NPPs (14.48 GW) after the implementation of this Transition Plan meets the base load requirement for Grid operations during the evening peak demand up to March 2030. This Transition Plan has operational, economic, and environmental benefits with savings in retrofit costs in the obsolete TPPs, reduced electricity tariffs, lower pollution and CO2 emissions, smoother VRE integration, and efficient Grid operations. However, since coal is expected to play a prominent role in India’s energy security for the next 2 -3 decades, the Government of India must mandate the replacement of retiring TPPs after 2030 with Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) and/or Advanced Ultra-Super Critical (AUSC) plants only.