The Mortality Impacts of Current and Planned Coal-Fired Power Plants in India


We examine the health implications of electricity generation from the 2018 stock of coal-fired power plants in India, as well as the health impacts of the expansion in coal-fired generation capacity expected to occur by 2030. We estimate emissions of SO2, NOX and PM2.5 for each plant, and use a chemical transport model to estimate the impact of power plant emissions on ambient PM2.5. Concentration-response functions from the 2019 GBD are used to project the impacts of changes in PM2.5 on mortality. Current plus planned plants will contribute, on average, 13% of ambient PM2.5 in India. This reflects large absolute contributions to PM2.5 in central India and parts of the Indo-Gangetic plain (up to 20μg/m3). In the south of India, coal-fired power plants account for 20% to 25% of ambient PM2.5. We estimate 112,000 deaths are attributable annually to current plus planned coal-fired power plants. Not building planned plants would avoid at least 844,000 premature deaths over the life of these plants. Imposing a tax on electricity that reflects these local health benefits would incentivize the adoption of renewable energy.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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Yongjoon Park
Assistant Professor of Resource Economics Department

My research interests are IO and Environmental Economics.