India will soon announce new emission standards for power plants that could reduce emissions by up to 50% and push companies to adopt cleaner technologies to generate power, officials told HT.
The announcement, expected to be made at the Lima climate conference in Peru in December, comes after US President Barack Obama announced a 30% cut in emissions by American power plants. The environment ministry’s 2012 report on carbon emissions also identified the sector as one of the biggest contributors to global warming.
However, the standards will not translate into actual emission cuts for the power generation sector but will only reduce the overall emission for generating per unit (1 MW) of electricity.
“Our emissions for electricity generation will increase as the demand is on the rise but we will send lesser pollutants in the air for generating each unit of power,” a senior government official said.
India has one of the worst emission standards for power plants in the world and allows three times the emission allowed by a power plant in Japan and two times allowed by a plant in China. The country does not even have emission standards for some hazardous pollutants from power plants such as mercury, nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide.
A government official said the new standards will address particulate matter emissions, which is on the rise across India.
“Our standards will be comparable with European standards on particulate matter emissions,” the official added.
The government will also prescribe for the first time standards for mercury and nitrogen dioxide emissions. Mercury standards have become necessary as India has agreed to sign the Minamata Convention on phasing out the element in the next decade or so.
However, ministry officials said power generation companies would be given time to meet the new standards, as many plants will have to update technology which could take a few years.