The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on 22 February 2015 released a report titled Heat on Power. The report claims that Indian coal-based thermal power plants are one of the most inefficient in the world.
The report was released by MS Swaminathan, the father of India’s Green Revolution. It was released after a two-year-long research study conducted under CSE’s Green Rating Project (GRP).
This study on coal sector in India, which evaluates its environmental performance and compliance, is first of its kind in India. The study was conducted with an aim to give a clear picture of the environmental performance of the coal sector.
Findings of the study
• Inefficient resources use and technological backwardness lead to high levels of pollution. There is immense scope for improvement
• Plants are operating at 60-70 percent capacity only, if capacity utilisation is improved, sector can meet additional power requirement without building new plants
• Delhi- based NTPC’s Badarpur plant one of the most polluting in the country
• 55 percent of the units were violating air pollution standards which are already extremely lax – Particulate Matter (PM) norms are at 150-350 mg/Nm3 (milligram per normal metre cube) compared to Chinese norms of 30 mg/Nm3.
• Fly ash disposal is the major problem, as 50 to 60 percent of 170 million tonnes of fly ash that is produced by this sector is ustilised while the rest is dumped into poorly managed ash ponds, resulting in polluting land, air and water
• River and reservoirs of 20 plants were found to be polluted by ash slurry, which is a toxic heavy metal
• 40 percent of plants do not meet the basic Total Suspended Solid (TSS) norms for effluents discharged by them
• 60 percent of plants had not installed effluent and sewage treatment plants
• 36 of the 47 plants were unable to meet the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) mandated target of utilising 90 percent of the solid waste (ash) generated – average use was only 54 percent.
On the occasion of release of the report, three top power plants were awarded for their environmental performance, while two others received awards for their efficient use of resources such as energy and water.
Top performers included West Bengal-based CESC-Budge Budge, JSEWL-Toranagallu (Karnataka), Tata-Trombay (Maharashtra) and JSW-Ratnagiri (Maharashtra). They scored between 45-50 per cent.
Tata-Mundra (Gujarat) received an award for having the highest energy efficiency, while Gujarat Industries Power Company Ltd (GIPCL), Surat, won an award for lowest water use.
Green Rating Project
Green Rating Project is one of the very few public-disclosure projects in the world in which a non-governmental, non-industry organisation rates the environmental performance of industries and makes the results public.
The project was started in 1997 and till date has rated five major industrial sectors of India including pulp and paper, iron and steel, chlor-alkali, cement and automobiles. The coal-based power sector is the sixth it has rated.
When: 22 February 2015