India has least number of polluting coal-based power plants; Oxford study

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21 March 2015

India has the lowest number of coal-based power plants among the world's most-polluting power plants.

This was revealed in a research from the Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment on the least efficient coal-fired power stations in the world.

The study anlayses the world's 100 largest power plants that were the least efficient and most polluting form of coal-fired power stations, and were at risk of becoming "stranded assets."

Stranded assets are assets that have suffered from unanticipated or premature write-downs, devaluations, or conversion to liabilities and they can be caused by a variety of risks.

The study found said, "39 per cent of them are in in China, 21 per cent in the US, 10 per cent in the EU, and 9 per cent in India".

Over half (59 per cent) are owned by governments globally.

In addition to the average subcritical coal-fired power station generating 75 per cent more carbon pollution as the most up-to-date type of coal-fired power station, they also use 67 per cent more water, and create significant amounts of air pollution, according to the study.

The study argues the subcritical coal plants  are most at risk of becoming 'stranded assets', or assets that  experience unanticipated or premature write-downs, devaluations, or conversion to liabilities because of their carbon intensity and contribution to local air pollution and water stress.

The research also shows which companies own these assets and ranks them by exposure to financial risk. It assesses the implications for investors and summarises possible responses from fixed-income and equity investors, rating agencies, and others.

It highlights that the International Energy Agency has warned that to limit global emissions to a level consistent with a 2°C future, it will be necessary to close around a quarter of all sub-critical coal-fired power stations worldwide by 2020.

Ben Caldecott, lead author and director of the Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, says, "There is a strong case for investors to evaluate the risk of companies exposed to the least efficient coal plants, as these assets are at the greatest risk of becoming stranded due to a wide range of environmental and social factors.

"Subcritical plants are typically older and more expensive to operate. Consequently, they may represent a sound choice for closure by budget-constrained policymakers looking for cost-effective ways of tackling pollution."





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