Angul-Talcher belt in dire need of energy transition
BHUBANESWAR: The growth trajectory of Angul-based coal mining and coal dependant industries is counter-intuitive for Odisha, one of the most vulnerable states to climate impacts, found a new study that suggested regulating coal mining and preparing a comprehensive energy transition policy. The study conducted by International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology (iFOREST) has stressed key interventions necessary to put Angul on the path of green energy and economic future.
Coal production is expected to grow three-fold over the next 10 years in Angul, from 96.7 MMT currently to 308.8 MMT by 2033. As per the lease schedule, mine closure will start after 2040 and the last mine will close by 2070. While 30 per cent (pc) of the 6.2 GW installed coal-based power capacity is currently below 10 years of age, all the thermal power units will face closure by 2050 as they will be more than 35 years old.
Since an accelerated and ambitious climate action to meet the climate goals requires coal production to be phased out in the next 30 years through strategic planning, the transition to a ‘green’ economy will be central to Angul’s transition planning from coal-based to renewable energy over the next three decades. President and CEO of iFOREST Chandra Bhushan said setting up green industries will be a central component considering job and revenue aspects. Besides, boosting climate resilient agriculture and agro and forest-based economic activities will be essential to achieve inclusive growth, he said.
“Environmental remediation of land and water resources will be key for planning the new economy in a critically polluted area like Angul-Talcher belt. Strong laws for pollution mitigation, waste management, and material reuse and recycling, will be essential to ensure sustainable growth and well-being of the local community,” he pointed out.
The study report was released on Wednesday at an event attended by Assembly Deputy Speaker Rajanikant Singh, Talcher MLA Brajakishore Pradhan, Angul Collector Siddharth Shankar Swain, CMD of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd OP Singh and CYSD founder Jagadananda. The Deputy Speaker said Angul faces a massive environmental burden due to industrialisation and mining activities.
“We have seen how the temperature in the Angul-Talcher industrial belt changed over the years, impacting both air and water in the region. There needs to be a serious rethinking on how the balance between industrial development and environment and climate change can be achieved,” he added.