Emission watch: tracking the implementation of emission standard notification for coal-based power plants in India

Marking the eighth anniversary since the announcement of the first ever emission standards regulating SO2 (sulphur dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxides), Hg (mercury), and water consumption in coal-based power generation units across India, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) conducted a comprehensive analysis. The findings reveal that over 92% of the active coal capacity in India continues to function without implementing adequate emission controls for SO2 emissions. The examination reveals the lack of progress despite an extension of deadline in September 2022. Within the past year (since December 2022), only 3.2 GW capacity distributed across 6 power generation units has incorporated SO2 control technologies. This brings the cumulative capacity equipped with SO2 control to a modest 16.5 GW, a fraction of the total installed capacity exceeding 213 GW in coal and lignite-based power plants across India. The analysis further discloses that more than 88 GW capacity is yet to award bids, with deadlines for meeting the emission standards looming for 8 GW in December 2025, 15 GW in December 2026, and the remaining 65 GW requiring retrofitting before December 2027.