Coal Ministry Identifies 20 Abandoned Mines to Develop Pumped Storage Projects

NLC India will be conducting the feasibility study for pumped storage projects at these sites


The Ministry of Coal has identified 20 abandoned mines to evaluate their feasibility for setting up pumped storage projects and leveraging vast land banks’ economic advantages.

The projects will be developed to help utilize solar energy to generate hydroelectricity, promoting sustainable development in the coal sector.

The information was shared by the Coal Ministry Secretary at a review meeting.

The initiative aims to harness solar energy during the day and generate hydroelectricity at night.

NLC India will be conducting the feasibility study for pumped storage projects at the 20 identified sites. The Ministry has also directed stakeholders to undertake such projects to identify sites for setting up pumped storage projects.

It plans to implement engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) and public–private partnership business models for such projects in collaboration with various stakeholders, including state governments, private players, and research institutions.

In October, at a meeting between the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the Ministry of Coal, it was decided that MNRE would provide essential technical, policy, and capacity-building support for the green energy initiatives. The Coal Ministry will offer land capital and oversee the implementation of projects related to solar energy, green hydrogen, and other renewable energy programs.

Coal central public sector undertakings possess land in open-cast mines with natural water storage reservoirs and elevations of approximately 100 meters. The meeting involved discussions about how these areas can be transformed into pump storage projects by constructing top reservoirs.

The pumped storage project is a configuration of two water reservoirs at different elevations that can generate power as water moves down from one to the other (discharge), passing through a turbine. During the low demand period, the water is pumped into the higher reservoir, and when the demand is high, the water is released to drive a turbine in a powerhouse and supply electricity to the grid.

The Coal Ministry said there are over 200 de-coaled mines with huge land areas, out of which many could prove feasible for pumped storage projects as lower reservoirs, head of water, and land are available.

Public sector undertakings of the Coal Ministry have set a target to create a renewable generation capacity of about 12 GW by 2030. As part of this endeavor, it is identifying suitable land patches spanning over 300 acres to offer to private investors interested in establishing green hydrogen projects, aligning with the MNRE’s policies.

At the recent National Conference of Power and New & Renewable Energy, Power Secretary Pankaj Agarwal spoke about India’s plans to add 21 GW of renewable energy capacity and 10 GW of thermal capacity during the financial year 2023-24.