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Delhi Takes Coal Off the Menu


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View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
26 January 2010, 3:08 PM
Indian city will serve consumers natural gas instead
Air pollution in Delhi. Photo: Dave Morris

City officials in Delhi, India plan to replace the three coal-fired plants providing (artificially) cheap power to the city with natural gas facilities. The transition, which the officials hope to accomplish in four years, is projected to dramatically reduce air pollution in a city notorious for it.

The switch won't be painless. Power bills are projected to increase and detractors are certain to vocalize their opposition. But city officials anticipate that concomitant improvements in public health will mollify consumers. Delhi's chief secretary, Rakesh Mehta, thinks "consumers would be willing to pay more for a cleaner atmosphere."

The swap underway in Delhi has analogs stateside. In early 2009, for example, developers of a coal-fired power plant slated for construction in Montana decided to pursue a natural gas-fired plant instead. Their decision was prompted by an Earthjustice lawsuit, which challenged failure by the plant's developers to address the effects of global warming pollution and other harmful air pollution from the proposed coal-burning facility.

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