Delhi Takes Coal Off the Menu

Indian city will serve consumers natural gas instead

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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.

Sam Edmondson was a campaign manager on air toxics issues from 2010 until 2012. He helped organize the first 50 States United for Healthy Air event. His desire to work at an environmental organization came from the belief that if we don't do something to change our unsustainable ways, we are in big trouble.