Govt to shut 32 power units for not meeting emission deadlines

By: |
September 18, 2020 4:30 AM

“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,” Union power minister RK Singh informed the parliament on Thursday.

Currently, coal-based power plants across the country are in the process of installing and upgrading equipment to meet its international environmental commitments.Currently, coal-based power plants across the country are in the process of installing and upgrading equipment to meet its international environmental commitments.

The government has identified 32 units in 12 power plants in the country, with a combined capacity of about 5,019 megawatt (MW), which will have to be shut down as they 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 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,” Union power minister RK Singh informed the parliament on Thursday.

Shutting down these units is not expected to have any major power supply disruptions as the current installed generation capacity is nearly double the demand level. On top of that, nearly 60,000 MW of thermal and 12,000 MW of hydro plants are currently under various stages of construction.

Currently, coal-based power plants across the country are in the process of installing and upgrading equipment to meet its international environmental commitments. The actions include installing flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) units and electrostatic precipitators (ESP) in power plants. It 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. However, several power plants have pointed to the power regulator CERC that the actual costs are coming to be more, which requires a higher tariff increase.

To reduce sulfur dioxide emissions, 1,65,942 MW of coal-based power plants will have to install FGD units by 2022. About 75% of these plants are yet to award contracts for setting up this equipment, and since it takes about 30 months to commission such projects, most of the power units would likely miss the 2022-deadline. Singh recently told Financial Express that the ministry had requested the environment ministry to extend the deadline for some plants, taking into account the logistical disruptions stemming from the coronavirus crisis.

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