Polluting coal energy vegetation could get blanket 20-year extension of compliance deadlines 

The Union Ministry of Energy (MoP) Could 3 has once more sought an extension — of 20 years this time — for 398 thermal energy vegetation to fulfill emission norms. The blanket extension on these Class C vegetation shall be regardless of their standing of compliance.

The unique deadline of 2017 was set seven years in the past by the Union Ministry of Atmosphere, Forest and Local weather Change (MoEF&CC) for the items, which account for 78 per cent of the nation’s coal-fired thermal energy capability. It was revised to 2024 on March 31, 2021. 

The ministry has cited the next causes for the extension: 

  • Phased manufacturing programme for flue gasoline desulfurisation (FGD) to encourage ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. FGD is an tools to take away SO2 emissions from the vegetation
  • Excessive value of FGD on account of demand-supply hole and escalated costs of FGD to Rs 1.14 crore from 0.39 crore per unit of technology
  • COVID-19 disrupted planning, tendering and implementation of FGD
  • Import constraints for FGD parts resembling borosilicates, absorber lining on account of geopolitical circumstances

Chain of occasions for implementation


Supply: CSE

At current solely 5 per cent of the capability in Class C is in compliance with emission norms, confirmed an evaluation by the Centre for Science and Atmosphere, a Delhi-based non-profit. 

The evaluation relies on Central Electrical energy Authority’s (CEA) updates of the status of installation of FGD in coal-fired thermal energy vegetation. 

One other 40 per cent has awarded the bid for set up of FGD.

These vegetation don’t want an extension in deadline as each technical and industrial bids have been finalised for them, and are prone to adjust to the present 2024 deadline. 

One other 29 per cent capability in Class C has opened bids for FGD and can probably meet the deadline if work goes as deliberate. The remaining 26 per cent is at a nascent stage of compliance and in all probability will miss the 2024 deadline. 

Compliance standing of Class C vegetation


Supply: CSE

This suggests that the extension, if applied, will as soon as once more stall the work progress in 95 per cent of the capability in Class C for subsequent 20 years. 

The coal energy vegetation are categorised based mostly on their aerial distance from the million-plus inhabitants cities, non-attainment cities, critically polluted space and Delhi-Nationwide Capital Area area.

ClassStandardsDeadline for compliance
AInside 10 km radius of the Nationwide Capital Area (NCR) or cities having million-plus inhabitants2022
BInside 10 km radius of critically polluted areas or non-attainment cities2023
CRemaining  vegetation2024

Other than the vegetation in Class C, CSE additionally analysed the compliance standing for the vegetation in Class A and Class B, the compliance deadlines for that are 2022 and 2023 respectively. 

These vegetation are both inside a 10-kilometre radius of Delhi-NCR / metropolitan metropolis or a critically polluted space. 

Over half (54 per cent) vegetation in Class A are usually not prone to meet the December 2022 deadline and solely 13 per cent of it has complied with the norms until date, the CSE evaluation. 

Compliance standing of Class A vegetation

Supply: CSE

Within the case of Class B vegetation, 61 per cent capability is prone to miss the deadline and solely 8 per cent ‘claims to be compliant’ to this point. Round 30 per cent capability on this class has been awarded and should meet the stipulated deadline. 

Compliance standing of Class B vegetation


Supply: CSE

Pandemic easy-out

COVID-19 has change into a simple choice to justify sidestepping environmental considerations. The tempo of business operation has picked up within the nation because the COVID-19-induced lockdowns have been relaxed. However coal-fired thermal energy vegetation appear to be caught within the vicious cycle solely with regards to implementation of emission norms. 

For years, the ability vegetation have filed petitions in courtroom, MoP have written to MoEF&CC, CEA printed analysis papers requesting and justifying rest in deadlines, rest in norms and exemption of the vegetation from assembly norms altogether.

 Nivit Kumar Yadav, programme director, industrial air pollution division, CSE, mentioned:  

MoP was in consensus with the MoEF&CC’s March 31, 2021 notification proposing disaggregated deadlines for coal fired thermal energy vegetation. In actual fact, the listing of vegetation categorisation was made in session with MoP and the vegetation. 

There’s a penalty clause within the March 2021 notification by MoEF&CC that enables non-compliant vegetation to pay penalties and preserve operating, he added. “What’s the level of constructing provision for penalties if these deadlines are usually not meant to be adhered to within the first place?”

Any thermal energy plant not capable of meet the 2024 deadline must be closed down, the skilled insisted. MoEF&CC, for as soon as, ought to safeguard the curiosity of the surroundings and never favour the polluters and steady violators, he added. 

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