The coal trail: tracking investments in coal fired thermal power plants in India

India’s installed capacity for power generation has also seen a tremendous rise, standing at 405.77 GW. What is also readily observable is the dominant share of coal in the installed capacity equalling 204 GW, and is likely to retain its leading position in meeting the country’s power demand, with demand for coal in power projections, by the Ministry of Coal, estimate it to increase to 1,034 MTs in 2029-30, an increase of 47.71% from 2021-22. These figures are followed by many coal-fired thermal power plants, above 1000 MW, being developed across the country between 2005 and 2022, both by the public and private sector, which are being financed, using various debt instruments, by various domestic and international financial institutions. Given the sizeable amounts of loans flowing in to finance the development of these large-scale projects, it is crucial to identify the various financial institutions and the quantum of loans for these projects for public awareness and form the first steps to build an accountability mechanism in coal project financing, since such information concealed, due to lack of transparency and astute use of fiduciary relationship between bank and client, and kept away from public scrutiny. Commercial databases, where investment is recorded in real-time, are prohibitively expensive for researchers and public.

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