India continues to delay anti-pollution rules for coal-fired power plants
The country initially set a 2017 target date for power companies to comply.
India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has further delayed anti-pollution guidelines for coal-fired power plants, extending the compliance deadline until the end of December 2022
Under the new order, plants near populous regions and the capital of New Delhi will have until the end of next year to install the required Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) units that reduce emissions of sulphur dioxides. Meanwhile, those that are in less populated areas will have until the end of 2023. Plants that have been marked for retirement meanwhile will have until the end of 2025.
Failure to comply will incur a penalty of $0.3 cents per kWh (INR20c/kWh).
The guidelines were first introduced in 2015, with the government giving power plants two years to comply. The deadline was later extended and revised, until it has now stretched to 2022.
Reports said that Indian coal-power plants have long resisted installing the FGD units, citing a high potential for financial stress. They later gained support from the power ministry which was said to have been in favour of the continued deadline extensions.
In 2019, the International Institute for Sustainable Development said that India’s coal power sector was ‘dragging its feet’ to address avoidable air pollution.
Coal produces about 65% of India’s electricity, which several studies have linked to air pollution in India's major cities, as well as diseases and premature deaths for India’s citizens.
India is the world’s third-largest energy consuming country.