In a big cleaning up exercise, the government proposes to shutdown 34 units of 12 polluting power plants with a total capacity of over 500 MW that have not submitted any emission control compliance plan.
As per the new emissions standards for thermal plants proposed by the environment ministry, they have currently, coal-based power plants across instal and upgrade equipment including putting up flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) units and electrostatic precipitators (ESP) in power plants. This requires an estimated Rs 27 lakh-45 lakh per MW for FGD installation, necessitating a rise of Rs 0.62-0.93/unit in power tariffs.
Power ministry officials said while a large number of thermal plants (over 300) are going ahead with the emission reduction projects, around 34 units have not submitted any plan to adhere to the prescribed emission control norms. These units are more than 20 years old, and the bulk of them are run by state governments, while some are operated by the Central government-owned Damodar Valley Corporation (Bokaro and Durgapur) and private company CESC (Titagarh).
“These plants would be shut down or retired as per phasing out plan and timelines are given by the Central Pollution Control Board and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,” power minister RK Singh has said.
Power companies have retired almost 14000 MW of coal-based generation capacities over the last 18 years. According to data compiled by the government’s power advisory arm, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 164 thermal power generating units were retired during the period.