Why Are Power Plants in India Less Efficient than Power Plants in the United States?

Maureen Cropper, Hei Sing Chan and Kabir Malik, American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings 104(5), 586-590, May .


India's coal-fired generating capacity doubled between 1990 and 2010 and currently accounts for 70 percent of electricity produced. Despite this, thermal efficiency at state-owned coal-fired power plants in India is significantly lower than at plants in the United States. When matched on age and capacity, heat input per kWh was 8 percent higher at Indian plants between 1997 and 2009. This can only partly be explained by the lower heat content of Indian coal. Electricity sector restructuring in the United States improved thermal efficiency at investor-owned plants; however, electricity sector restructuring in India has yet to improve thermal efficiency at state-owned coal-fired power plants.

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