April 2, 2021
The earlier deadlines for compliance of the norms were scheduled for two phases in December 2019 and December 2022.
The decision comes after the demands made by the power ministry for an extension of the deadlines and a lowering of the non-compliance penalty rate.
The amended norms divide the power plants into three categories based on their location, with three different deadlines for each of them.
It also provides flexibility with the deadline for the units which have been earmarked for retirement, up to December 2025.
The deadlines according to the emission norms by coal-based power plants have been extended by the union environment ministry by three to five years. It has fixed penalties for those found in non-compliance with the same. Previously, the compliance schedule had a phased system for the deadlines, the first in December 2019 and the second by December 2022 for other plants. The power ministry had requested a two-year extension in August 2020 and reiterated the same in January 2021. Additionally, they had also asked for the non-compliance penalty rate to be lowered. The ministry has consented to both these requests.
The three categories of the thermal power plants, based on their location (category A being within a 10 kilometre radius of the National Capital Region and cities with population exceeding a million, category B being those plants within a 10 kilometre radius of areas heavily polluted or non-attainment cities, and category C being the remaining power plants), have different deadlines for each of them. Category A is now required to install the equipment for emission control by December 31, 2022, while category B and category C are supposed to be in compliance by December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2024, respectively. The revised norms also provide flexibility to the plants earmarked for retirement, extending the deadline to December 31, 2025. The notification mentions that those units which are set to shut down their operations before their compliance deadlines have been relieved from the need to meet the norms. Those units retiring post their given deadline have to submit an affidavit mentioning when they will shut down.
The move has been welcomed by power producers. Ashok Khurana, director or the Association of power producers mentioned the decision is based on ground realities of the different units, while stressing on the importance of ensuring that the equipment is locally sourced, complying with the Atmanirbhar Bharat policy.