India’s Quest for ‘24/7 Reliable Power’ Means Munching More Coal, Not Praying for the Wind to Blow
Among the selfish conceits peddled by the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers is the notion that a wholly weather dependent power source – which is 4 times the cost of coal-fired power and which will always require 100% of its capacity to be backed up, 100% of the time by conventional generation sources – represents the ‘salvation’ of nations like India, where some 250 million people have no power at all; and, accordingly, live in Stone Age poverty, cooking on twigs and dung and otherwise living a life of misery.
The pontificators that assembled in Paris, and sought to impose what Indians quite rightly regard as “fake electricity”, couldn’t care less about the world’s huddled masses and are, instead, happy to destine them to a world of eternal darkness and poverty. However, thankfully, India’s Power Minister, Piyush Goyal has other ideas.
India’s challenge is 24/7 electricity for all
13 February 2016
Piyush Goyal is a name you haven’t heard. But this week he has made one of the most important interventions of any foreign politician in an Australian political debate.
He is India’s Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy. He is a big success politically and in line for more promotion.
I’ll give you his direct quotes in a moment. But let’s cut to the chase. Here are the important things he said in a lengthy interview with The Australian.
India will increase coal imports from Australia. Quite independently from that, if the Adani mine in Queensland goes ahead it is an integrated project and will be its own main customer, so India’s efforts to increase its coal production would not reduce the viability of the Adani project.
India is passionately committed to caring for the environment but also to economic development. That means a huge increase in coal-fired power stations as well as coal’s role in making steel.
The Indian government wants 24/7 reliable energy for all its people. Some 300 million Indians will move from rural to urban living in the next couple of decades. They will be on proper power grids. India’s baseload power will be provided by coal.
India will expand its renewable energy sector but, as the minister says, renewables have never provided baseload power for anyone.
India also will expand nuclear power and keep its gas power stations at roughly their current level.
The massive urbanisation in India means a surging demand for steel. Goyal says coking coal exports from Australia will increase particularly strongly. (Thermal coal goes to power stations, coking coal makes steel). Already nearly a third of India’s coal imports are coking coal.
Goyal’s remarks could not be more clear. Every Greens spokesman and climate-change jihadist who argues on the ABC that India is turning away from coal is inverting reality. Far from coal being a “dying industry”, as Geoff Cousins argued in a ludicrous article, the International Energy Agency forecasts Indian coal imports more than doubling by 2040.
Goyal does want to crank up India’s domestic production of coal but its coastal power stations are geared to take imported coal and that will continue, he tells me.
Now, dear reader, if you ever again hear anyone on the ABC claim that India is moving away from coal, or that Australian coal is not essential to get hundreds of millions of Indians out of poverty, you will know they are talking pure moonshine.
No one more consistently misrepresents what is happening all over Asia than the green lobby. The general ignorance of Asia among journalists allows these claims to be aired uncritically, especially on the ABC.
So let’s take up the Indian story in Goyal’s own words: “The first challenge of our government is to make sure that all Indians get 24/7 reliable power. We will expand the total energy output significantly.
“We are a very environmentally friendly country. We have been for generations. India is one country that has respected and even worshipped nature. So we will give renewed thrust to our renewable energy program. We are scaling it up massively, from 34 gigawatts to 175GW over the next six years. This is the world’s largest renewable energy rollout in the history of mankind.”
It is statements like this that green propagandists sometimes misuse to pretend renewable will replace coal in India. Nothing could be less true.
Gas power, Goyal says, will remain roughly where it is. But: “We will be expanding our coal-based thermal power. That is our baseload power. All renewables are intermittent. Renewables have not provided baseload power for anyone in the world.
“After all, solar works when the sun is shining, wind works when the wind is blowing, hydro works when there is water in the rivers. You must have coal.” Goyal says India will expand its nuclear power but this is a slow process and although nuclear will increase in absolute terms and as a percentage of India’s power overall, he continually comes back to the expansion of coal and its irreducible part in development.
“India does have certain development imperatives which we expect the world to accept. All ourINVESTMENT in coal is either supercritical power stations or ultra-super critical.” These produce about half the greenhouse emissions per unit of power as do older coal-fired power stations.
He refuses to accept lecturing from the West on India’s environmental responsibilities: “The people of India want a certain way of life. They want jobs for their children, schools and colleges, hospitals with uninterrupted power. This needs a very large amount of baseload power and this can only come from coal.
“I do wish people would reflect on the justice of the situation. Europe and America and Australia have messed up the world and the planet, and they’re saying to us, we’re sorry but you Indians can only have power for eight hours a day. The rest of the time you must live in darkness.
“We are fortunate that countries like Australia and Canada enter into serious agreements and we can rely on an uninterrupted flow of fuel.”
India is the fastest growing substantial economy, with a growth rate above 7 per cent in an anaemic global economy. This growth will be central to global economics. Goyal believes India will hit double-digit growth next year or the year after and stay there for a decade. If he is right, the development, and the economic opportunity this offers for Australia, is enormous, beyond anything that has yet entered the Australian imagination.
He says: “In the next couple of decades, imagine 300 million people moving from rural to urban centres. As we improve productivity in agriculture, the population will shift to manufacturing and services. Energy consumption will go up in agriculture itself with greater use of technology. There will be increased energy use in infrastructure. The government wants decent homes for every Indian by 2022; that means millions of homes will be built.” He points out that India’s per capita energy consumption is still below that of the US in the middle of the 19th century and says it will increase for decades.
India will not commit to a year when its greenhouse emissions will peak. This is “immaterial”, he says. On China’s commitment to such a year, his polite scepticism is robust: “We’ve all seen the reliability of that data. It’s up to you to judge what is optical and what is real.”
He is pro-Australian and wants the warmest relationship, but is utterly unimpressed with lectures from Australians about global warming: “Australia’s power consumption is coming down now anyway. Its economy is not growing, manufacturing is moving overseas, your economy is moving to services. You have jobs for everyone and a society satiated with energy. It’s easy for you to nominate a peak year. We have 250 million Indians without energy now. We have years and decades of growth ahead.”
Every word he says is true. It would be good if Australians listened.