Skip to main content

Centre likely to dilute emission norms for thermal power plants, relax deadline (downtoearth)

In yet another case of shifting goal posts and diluting strict norms, the Centre has reportedly decided to relax the December 2017 deadline for more than 400 thermal plants in the country to comply with the new emission norms notified in December 2015. It has also decided to dilute the standards it had set.

Since the new norms were notified more than a year ago, none of the thermal power plants has managed to comply with them, even though a recent study by the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment revealed that coal-fired power sector was one of the most resource wasteful and polluting sectors in the world.

See: Green Rating of Coal-based Thermal Power Plants

This non-compliance doesn’t echo the optimism Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed during his budget speech last week about promoting clean energy.

What’s the excuse for non-compliance?

In December 2015, the Environment Ministry had laid down emission norms for Nitrogen and Sulphur oxides (NOx and SOx) for thermal plants. Stricter limits for particulate matter (PM) emission and water consumption were also fixed. However, Ravindra Kumar Verma, chief of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), admits that meeting revised environmental norms by December 2017 “may not be feasible”. The power utilities now demand relaxation of standards as they are not ready to resolve technological issues, take up huge civil work, incur capital cost and create enough space in existing plants to accommodate green technologies.

This non-compliance, however, is not entirely surprising since there was a stiff resistance from within the industry to this decision to raise the bar.

An informal survey by the CSE, six months after the notification was issued, showed that many companies have little idea about the equipment needed by their plants to meet the new standards.

Even before the norms were notified, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) wrote to the Environment Ministry stating that the proposed norms were “much more stringent than (those) prescribed by World Bank and even China in some parameters”. In a separate response to the draft, the Union Power Ministry argued that proposed emission norms for thermal plants in India are tougher than China.

Months after notification, the NTPC sought relaxation although its objections to the draft emission standards were set aside by the Environment Ministry prior to notification.

According an NTPC spokesperson, the NTPC shall formalise the action plan after the Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA) submits a phasing plan for implementation of new environmental plan by March 2017.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

NGT terminates chairmen of pollution control boards in 10 states (downtoearth,)

Cracking the whip on 10 State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) for ad-hoc appointments, the National Green Tribunal has ordered the termination of Chairpersons of these regulatory authorities. The concerned states are Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Rajasthan, Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra and Manipur. The order was given last week by the principal bench of the NGT, chaired by Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The recent order of June 8, 2017, comes as a follow-up to an NGT judgment given in August 2016. In that judgment, the NGT had issued directions on appointments of Chairmen and Member Secretaries of the SPCBs, emphasising on crucial roles they have in pollution control and abatement. It then specified required qualifications as well as tenure of the authorities. States were required to act on the orders within three months and frame Rules for appointment [See Box: Highlights of the NGT judgment of 2016 on criteria for SPCB chairperson appointment].

Having fai…

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…