India: Sasan Coal-Fired Power Plant and Mine, ‘Ultra Mega’ Power Project
The 3,960 megawatt (MW) Sasan coal power and mine is one of nine earmarked ‘ultra-mega’ coal-fired power stations proposed by the government of India. The project is expected to release vast amounts of pollution into the local environment and the global atmosphere. In 2010, The U.S. Ex Im Bank flip-flopped with a commitment of $917 million for this project despite of public outcry and a decision the previous week not to finance this harmful project based on C02 emissions.
Sasan is controlled by Sasan Power Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, owned by Anil Ambani one of the world’s richest men.
Controversy surrounds financing of the coal power plant including issues of local air and water pollution, displacement of people, and climate impacts arising from one of the world’s largest point sources of carbon dioxide. Sasan will emit between 26-27 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, more than all grenhouse gas emitting projects approved by Ex-Im Bank in 2009.
Ex-Im Bank’s new carbon policy allows the Bank board to decline a transaction due to detrimental greenhouse gas effects. Citing this policy, Ex-Im Bank became teh first export credit agency in the world to decline financing for a project based on greenhouse gas concerns. But after intense lobbying from Bucyrus, a Wisconsin-based coal mining equipment company that stood to benefit from Ex-Im Bank financing, Ex-Im Bank backtracked on the Sasan decision by allowing Reliance Power to submit a new application, which reportedly will include a small renewable energy component but will not lower pollution of the coal powered plant.
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