Ultra Mega Coal Plant Threatens Cheyyur

Dear friends,

“Ultra Mega” is the term for 12 new super-sized coal-fired power plants proposed to meet India’s energy needs. 

Each of these 4,000 megawatt facilities is 20 times the size of an average coal plant.  Each would release more than 25 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, at the same time that scientists are telling us we need to move quickly to stop damaging the climate.

ELAW partners Shweta Narayan and Nity Jayaraman are working to help communities in India find ways to meet energy needs without sacrificing lives and livelihoods through massive air pollution and environmental destruction.

“For every 100 MW of electricity generated in India, more than 30 MW is lost because of inefficiencies and leakages, including in transmission and distribution,” says Shweta.  “That means 30% of all power generated is lost.  Shopping malls and IT companies burn electricity throughout the day, while households and small businesses suffer outages.  We must phase out our current paradigm of wasteful consumption and inequitable distribution of electricity.”

Shweta and Nity are working with communities near Tamil Nadu’s Cheyyur Lagoon to challenge a proposed Ultra Mega coal-fired power plant that includes a port to receive coal from China and Australia, a four-mile conveyor belt to ferry the coal to the power plant, and a waste pond to receive 5,000 tons of fly ash, every day.

“The Environmental Impact Assessment is misleading,” says Heidi Weiskel, ELAW Staff Scientist.  “The project is much larger, more polluting, and more dangerous than the project proponents have revealed.” In March, Heidi toured the area and met with community members who are challenging the project (read more).

Learn more about the fishing and farming communities in Cheyyur and their David and Goliath struggle to protect their fragile coastline from an Ultra Mega nightmare:

YouTube: Kaayal Kadhaigal (stories from the lagoon)

Thank you for your interest!

All the best,

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director &
Fellows Program Coordinator Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
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