Back to Reports

Cost–benefit analysis of coal plant repurposing in developing countries: A case study of India

November 28, 2023

This report discusses the cost-benefit analysis of coal plant repurposing in developing countries.

In the context of climate change, developing countries with sizeable coal capacities; such as South Africa, Chile and India; are exploring coal plants retirements by repurposing them for productive uses. However, a framework to establish the economic rationale for repurposing does not exist. We develop a detailed cost-benefit framework for the same; for three applications – solar energy, battery energy storage and synchronous condenser; and apply it to a representative coal plant in India. Our findings reveal a strong economic rationale for repurposing.

First, the present value of repurposing benefits outweigh corresponding decommissioning costs – the direct, indirect and total decommissioning costs are $58.11 million, $45.80 million and $103.91 million, respectively; the corresponding gross benefits from repurposing are $122.79 million, $468.03 million and $590.82 million, respectively. Second, even after excluding social benefits, net benefits of repurposing cover 10%–32% of capital expenditure of the repurposing options. Third, decommissioning costs are about 50% for coal plants in India (at $58 million) vis-à-vis plants in the US (at $117 million). Finally, we provide a methodology for selecting plants for repurposing; based on age, energy charges and qualitative factors. Our methods will serve as a template for coal plant repurposing in developing countries.

Read Full Report
Read Full Report

get in touch

If you would like more information on our project, please email us or get in touch using our LinkedIn page.