Water shortages threaten coal company revenues

The water scarcity crippling large parts of India has already cost coal power companies nearly 7 billion units in lost electricity generation, with an estimated revenue loss of Rs. 2,400 crore in the first five months of 2016 alone, according to an analysis by Greenpeace India. The coal power sector is already a water guzzler, consuming 4.6 billion cubic metres a year - water that could have met the most basic needs of 251 million Indians. Shocking as these figures are, they will more than double if all proposed coal plants are built. The expansion of coal power will increase air pollution and deforestation; this data shows us that it will also worsen the water crisis, posing a serious financial risk to lenders and investors in these projects. The Greenpeace analysis is based on daily outage reports from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), and Right to Information replies from National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). Water shortages have led to coal power plant shut downs in West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra. NTPC, Adani Power, GMR, Mahagenco and Karnataka Power Corporation are among the companies affected. Most of the losses have occurred between March and May, when plants have been unable to run due to a lack of water for cooling.