The 11 coal-fired power plants in the National Capital Region contributed just 7 per cent to Delhi’s PM2.5 pollution on an average between October 2020 and January 2021, while vehicles contributed 14 per cent, according to a new study. The findings are significant considering that the Delhi government had recently moved to the Supreme Court, seeking closure of the coal-fired power plants in the vicinity of the city using outdated polluting technology.
On April 1, the Union Environment Ministry had issued a notification with amended rules allowing thermal power plants within 10 kilometres of the National Capital Region (NCR) and in cities with more than 10 lakh population to comply with new emission norms by the end of 2022.
In its latest analysis, the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a Delhi-based not-for-profit policy research institution, said, “Given the EPCA (Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority) directives on account of GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan) implementation and presumably low demand due to lockdown, the power plants also operated at much lower levels in October and November 2020.”
“We observe that energy generation from NCR coal-fired plants was 25 and 70 per cent lower in October and November, respectively, compared to the corresponding months in 2019, implying a lower contribution in these months,” the report read.
The research team of L S Kurinji, Adeel Khan, and Tanushree Ganguly found that the average contribution of emissions from the 11 power plants in Delhi-NCR was 7 per cent between October 2020 and January 2021.
“However, once the ‘fuss’ about air quality dissipated and demand picked up, the daily energy generation levels scaled up to 2019 levels in December 2020 and January 2021,” it said.