Who: Union Ministry of Environment
What: Notified norms for Coal-based Thermal Power Plants
When: 7 December 2015
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change on 7 December 2015 notified revised norms of emission standards for coal-based thermal power plants in India.
The Ministry also made it mandatory for the existing plants to meet the new emission parameters within two years.
Highlights of the Notification
• Beginning 2017, thermal power plants across India will have to cut particulate matter emissions by as much as 40 percent and reduce their water consumption by nearly one-third.
• It also fixed water consumption parameters for all the existing and new plants, making it mandatory to use water more efficiently.
• In case of PM10 (particulate matter), the new plants will have to restrict the emission to 30 mg per cubic meter as compared to 100 mg per cubic meter in older plants.
• It stated that coal plants should restrict emissions of sulphur and nitrous oxides to 100 mg and mercury to 0.03 mg respectively.
• Plants established between 2003 and 2016 would have to halve particulate matter emissions but those built after 2017 must make more dramatic changes.
• The new power plants, that will be commissioned from 1 January 2017 onwards, will have to achieve zero waste water discharge standard through putting up adequate captive infrastructure.
• The emission standards have been made stringent for recent plants, compared to earlier ones and most stringent for those plants to be set up in future.
The new emission standards for the plants are based on the recommendation of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The new standards are aimed at reducing emission of PM10 (particulate matter), Sulphur Dioxide, and Oxide of Nitrogen.
It will help in bringing about an improvement in the Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) in and around thermal power plants. The technology employed for the control of the proposed limit of Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Oxide will also help in control of mercury emission (at about 70-90%) as a co-benefit.