Only 1 of 11 coal plants set to meet emission deadline

Norms to come into force from December in plants in NCR

Only 1 out of 11 thermal power plants in the National Capital Region (NCR) is compliant with emission norms that are set to come into force by December, a Right to Information application by Greenpeace has revealed.

Eleven coal-fired power plants in the NCR are expected to retrofit their units with technology called flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD).

As per Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) estimates, these norms can help reduce PM emissions by about 35%, NOx emission by about 70%, and SO2 emissions by more than 85% by 2026-27 against a business-as-usual scenario with no pollution control technologies.

The norms are applicable to nearly 440 plant units across the country. In 2015, the Union Environment Ministry ordered plants to comply by 2017.

Staggered plan

Power plants — both private and state owned — said that the costs and technology access where prohibitive and implementation would take more time. Later on, the Central Electricity Authority, a Union Power Ministry body, agreed to a staggered plan where all units were expected to comply by 2024. Plants which were in a 300 km radius of Delhi were, however, expected to be compliant by December 2019 because of their propensity to increase pollution in the Capital.

According to an RTI application by environmentalist Sunil Dahiya, who is with environmentalist group Greenpeace, demanding the status of the compliance, it emerged that there were 11 plants traversing Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, that comes under NCR that were to have implemented the FGD technology by December this year. Of these, only one plant, the Mahatma Gandhi Thermal Power Station in Haryana was compliant with the new norms.

18-24 months needed

The rest of the plants were in various stages of implementation. “It needs nearly 18-24 months for the plants to be compliant with the new norms, However, the documents show that except for one plant, most are in the early stages of bidding or implementation,” according to Dahiya.

Non-compliance by thermal power plants was raised at the National Green Tribunal through a petition filed in April 2017 and there is an ongoing case in the Supreme Court regarding the extensions given to these plants.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 4:01:00 PM |

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