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Thermal power corp strikes gold

india Updated: Sep 07, 2006 01:17 IST

THE UTTAR Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam, a State-owned thermal power generating company, seems to have struck a ‘gold mine’, via coal mines, of course. The corporation is looking forward to earning Rs 300-400 crore every year by selling the carbon dioxide emissions reduced at its power plants, to developed countries by way of carbon credits.

Carbon credits is a concept devised after the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. It involves buying carbon units mainly in tonnes, through a middle entity. The carbon units are sold to a buyer in the industrial sector needing to offset CO2 generated in the atmosphere through manufacturing and other activities. Carbon credits are measured in units called certified emission reductions (CERs). Each CER is equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide reduced.

The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialised countries to pay for their wild ways with emissions while at the same time monetarily rewarding developing countries with good behaviour in this regard.

“We hope to cut down the emissions in the Obra thermal power house by 40 per cent after the ongoing Rs 1200 crore refurbishment  work on all the five units is over,” said UPPCL MD, Avnish Awasthi. The existing Obra power units each of 200 mw consumed 3300-3400 kilo calories in producing one unit of electricity.

This station heat would be brought down to the level of 2500 kilo calories per unit, thereby saving coal consumption by 30 per cent after modernised and energy efficient turbines and boilers were put in place after the machines’ renovation, said Awasthi.

“Besides, each refurbished unit will produce 16 mw of more power with less amount of coal” he added .  

Awasthi claimed that UP was the first State to have gone for refurbishment of its power units and was looking forward to getting carbon credits under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by reducing the emission levels below the specified levels. He said that the rates of one CER were between US $ 5-15.

“We hope to earn Rs 300-400 crores by selling the CERs from the Obra power house alone within the next three years and the same will be possible through some other power houses when they are renovated,” he pointed out. “This is a gold mine for us,” he said.

Awasthi said that there were certain certifying agencies working in the country. “We will apply to one of such agencies which will certify our claim for carbon credits,” he said, adding, “We will also appoint consultants for this”
The Utpadan Nigam’s technical advisor Girish said that the coal-based thermal powerhouses had a good potential of improving efficiency and hence claiming the carbon credits. He said the World Bank which had built itself as a broker was already in touch with them to help them get the carbon credits.

Significantly, the State Government had held a meeting on carbon credits in Delhi on July 24 to discuss various related things. The officials from the Utpadan Nigam had also participated in the meeting. India, it was felt, was emerging as the biggest global carbon market during the first commitment period-2008-2012.