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Impact of Relaxing Emission Norms for Coal-fired Power Plants

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Blog Posts, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

ISEP – the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy – is an interdisciplinary research program that uses cutting-edge social and behavioral science to design, test, and implement better energy...

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  • Jun 14, 2021
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Introduction

India has serious air pollution challenges arising from coal-fired power plants but power generators have been struggling to meet the new, more stringent standards. Even though these emissions have significant health impacts, the lack of financial support, lacklustre policy implementation, and lobbying by the power generating companies are resulting in dilution of the norms.  

December 2015 notification from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) mandated stricter emission norms for coal-fired power plants. Emissions norms for the sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and mercury (Hg) were tightened. Since then these standards have become an issues for thermal power generators, as they grapple with compliance.

Initially, the standards were to be met within 2 years, i.e. by 2017, but since then it has been postponed and now targets are to be met by 2022. Most recently, NOx levels were eased from 300 mg/Nm3 to 450 mg/Nm3 for plants that were installed between 2003 and 2016. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is now further advocating for dilution of these emission norms for newer plants (installed after 2016 and 2017).

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