India, March 21 -- The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas has set timelines for captive thermal power plants (CTPPs) to phase out coal and replace it with co-firing biomass and straw pellets. Captive power plants provide localised sources of power typically to industrial facilities.
In an order issued on Monday, CAQM directed CTPPs to initiate immediate steps to co-fire biomass-based pellets with coal through a continuous and uninterrupted supply chain targeting at least 5% co-firing of biomass pellets by September 30 and at least 10% co-firing by December 31 for effective utilisation of agricultural residue. The move is aimed at reducing their coal dependence.
The CAQM clarified the order applied to CTPPs for which no restrictions existed until now. There is a separate timeline for NCR's 11 coal-based thermal power plants.
CAQM issued a comprehensive policy on air pollution in NCR in July last year under which the 11 plants were directed to meet their co-firing targets of 5% by September 30, 2022. They were to be co-firing 10% by the March end of this year.
A Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) analysis on March 16 showed a majority of these power plants were unlikely to meet the deadline.
"Until December 2022, the power plants under the ownership of [the] Haryana state government- the Rajiv Gandhi TPP, Yamuna Nagar TPP, and Panipat TPP - have invited both short-term and long-term tenders, but none of these tenders have been awarded. The Mahatma Gandhi TPP, Dadri TPP, and Indira Gandhi TPP are the only coal-based power plants in Delhi-NCR that have successfully placed long-term orders by December 2022," the analysis said.
It added the Panipat TPP, Mahatma Gandhi TPP, Nabha TPP, Ropar TPP, and Guru Hargobind TPP issued tenders for biomass pellet procurement, but they were of much less quantity than what was needed to meet the 5% threshold.
Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air analyst Sunil Dahiya said the move sought to incentivise farmers and to ensure agricultural residue is not burnt. He added most power plants seemed to have missed the harvesting window for procurement. "On paper, we are reducing coal usage and utilising this agricultural residue which will cause less pollution overall...if the window to procure has been missed, then it will be very difficult to get these bio-pellets or residue now. We need to ensure that these thermal power plants procure residue when harvesting begins." Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Hindustan Times. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at email@example.com