Most power plants are likely to miss the revised deadlines for complying with stricter air pollution emission norms, said Andrew DeLeone, Managing Director, GE Power India.

“The biggest issue for India is that most of the power plants will miss the relaxed deadlines for compliance with stricter SOx, NOx emission regulations. NTPC and maybe NLC India Ltd will be the only companies whose power plants will meet the revised deadlines for complying there emission norms to lower SOx NOx discharges during thermal power generation.” DeLeone said in an interview with BusinessLine .

New norms

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had brought out new norms for coal-based power stations to cut down emissions of particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) to improve the air quality around power plants. The Ministry had for the first time fixed SOx and NOx norms in 2015.

The earlier deadline for power stations to adhere to these guidelines was December 2017. But, these norms were not complied by the 400 power plants that were to be retrofit with modern Flue-gas desulfurisation (FGD) units for lowering emission intensity.

The Central Electricity Authority then chalked out at detailed plan to retrofit old plants with required equipment to meet new norms with a deadline ranging from 2020-24.

It’s not that power generation projects of public sector undertakings are the only ones lagging behind, DeLeone said adding that “The private players are also not moving fast on FGD installations. Private sector, in fact, seem to be on a wait and watch mode.”

Ministry’s suggestion

The laxity is despite the Ministry of Power having written to the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, asking the regulator to allow a pass-through to consumers of increased costs that the power producers will incur on installing the FGD units.

GE India project

GE India is currently executing a ₹309 crore contract by NTPC for installing FGD system at Phase-I (2 X 800 MW) of Super Thermal Power Project in Telangana.

Earlier this year, GE also announced the successful completion of the first turnkey full flow wet flue gas desulphurisation (WFGD) unit at NTPC’s 500 MW Super Thermal Power project site in Vindhyachal, Madhya Pradesh.

The writer was in Malaysia to visit the Manjung Power Plant, which is powered and maintained by GE Steam Power