Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) on 8 October 2015 gave a green signal to import coal with higher ash content of up to 25 percent to help domestic thermal power plants use higher grade coal and bring down the cost of generation.
The ministry also declared that Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) will be carried out accordingly.
As per the current norm, the ministry has only allowed coal with ash content of up to 12 per cent.
Earlier, the Association of Power Producers (APP) had demanded that the Ministry's February 2013 order to restrain ash content in imported coal up to 12 percent has put pressure on the power plants in the coastal region to use only Indonesian coal.
Due to the restriction, bulk of coal imported with ash content lower than 12 per cent typically belonged from Indonesian region that have high moisture content of about 30-40 per cent. On the other hand, coal imported from Australia, Russia, the USA and Columbia have ash content of about 25 per cent with moisture content up to 15 per cent.
Therefore, APP had asked for the review of the ash content limit so that high grade, low moisture imported coal from Australia, South Africa and Russia can be utilised for better efficiencies, which will also lower the cost of generation.
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When: 8 October 2015