Onward with impunity: Coal plants around Delhi yet again missed the emissions deadline, as only one of 11 plants was found to have installed the required equipment by end of 2019 | Photo: Scroll.in

Coal plants around Delhi caught producing power illegally, without retrofitting equipment

Coal plants around Delhi yet again missed the emissions deadline after they were found operating illegally without the kits to cut down sulphur dioxide emissions. Authorities had warned that plants would be shut down if they functioned without emission-cutting technology beyond December 2019. Still, only one out of 11 plants in the highly polluted National Capital Region had installed the equipment at year-end. The coal fired utilities have already missed a deadline way back in December 2017, the government had extended it to 2019. The Central Pollution Control Board had threatened to shut down the plants.

Government data showed that Vedanta-owned TSPL plants were producing power illegally. Both state-run coal plants in UP and those at Ropar and Bhatinda, were functioning post the December 31 deadline. Senior officials at the state-run plants and private power utilities such as Vedanta and Larsen & Toubro Ltd said they had asked for yet another extension to the deadline, and that they had not received direction on whether they could continue to run the plants having not installed the kit.

China inspired ‘smog tower’ installed in Delhi

As the pollution hovered in ‘severe’ category, enough to make healthy people sick, Delhi installed its first-ever ‘smog tower’ as part of a pilot project in Lajpat Nagar market area. The ₹7-lakh tower is a 20-foot tall air purifier expected to cut 80% pollution in the area. Drawing inspiration from China, the Supreme Court of India has directed the Centre and state governments to install smog towers across the city as the pollution remains off the charts in many parts of the Capital.

The Delhi pilot project is being run by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in collaboration with IIT Delhi, the Central Pollution Control Board and the University of Minnesota. The University of Minnesota had earlier helped in China’s Xi’an project, as well. 

NTPC to produce power with 6 million tonnes agro residue-based pellets in 2020

Millions of tonnes of crop residue produced after every harvest will not be burned openly now, as part of it will be used to generate power by state-owned power utility NTPC. One of the biggest power firms of India will acquire six million tonnes of agro residue-based pellets to co-fire its power plants along with coal in 2020, as part of its sustainable power generation plan. Currently, NTPC is using agro residue-based pellets at its Dadri thermal power plant. NTPC will use six million tonnes of pellets made out of stubble and husk, in its 21 thermal coal-fired power plants across the country. A tonne of pellets costs around ₹7,000. The company will procure 6 million tonnes of the pellets at the cost of around ₹4,200 crore.