The new emission norms incorporated in Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2015 have put the state-owned MPPGC in a fix as it has to invest around Rs 1,000 crore per thermal power generating unit to minimize emission of sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and mercury in the air on burning coal.
The Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2015 propose to control emissions of particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury and also cut water use by coal-based thermal power plants. It intends to check pollution from thermal power plants.
The norms are applicable on both government and private sectors’ thermal power generating units.
The MP Power Generating Company (MPPGC) is now worried about creating the infrastructure within a time span of two years for each unit as per the new norms.
The MPPGC runs four thermal power stations including Amarkantak Thermal Power Station, Sanjay Gandhi Thermal Power Station, Satpura Thermal Power Station and Shree Singaji Thermal Power Station. The 14 units at the power stations generate 4,080 megawatts of power.
Retired additional chief engineer of MP Power Generating Company RK Agrawal said, “As of now, there is no state-of-art technology available in the country to create infrastructure in the thermal power station to minimize emissions of sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and mercury on burning coal. The power generating companies have to import the technology and it will take time.”
Currently the washed coal is used in the Shree Singaji Thermal Power Station by the generation company. Therefore, the emission of sulphur dioxide is negligible as during washing, the percentage of sulphur in coal is reduced to a negligible level.
The cost per unit of generating power is likely to go up by over `1 per unit and the burden of expenditure to develop infrastructure for minimizing emission is likely to be passed on to the consumers, sources in the power distribution company said.
MP Power Generating Company managing director AP Bhairve said, “The generation company has written to the Centre expressing concern over the time span of two years counting from the day of notification issued on December 7, 2015. Two years is a very short time. We require some more time to have the infrastructure in place.”
Thermal power sector is one of the most polluting in India. Earlier this year, the non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had released environmental rating of the coal-based thermal power plants. It had ranked 47 plants (55% of the nation’s capacity) on various environment parameters and found 55% of them were violating air pollution standards.