Transition Plan for Thermal Power Plants in India (NIAS/NSE/EEP/U/PB/17/2020)

Publication Type:

Policy Brief


NIAS, Bangalore (2020)


Coal-based Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) constitute 56% of the total installed capacity and generated 72% of the electricity during FY 2019-20. India’s proven coal reserves are sufficient to fuel the country’s need for thermal power generation for several decades. Therefore, the predominance of coal-fired power generation in India will continue for several years to provide energy security and drive economic growth. Particulate Matter (PM) pollution from TPPs is a major concern in many parts of India even as the ambient concentrations of Sulphur-di-Oxide (SO2 ) in the atmosphere around TPPs using Indian coals are well within the National ambient air quality standards. In December 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India (GoI), notified the Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules (EPAR 2015) inter alia to reduce stack emissions of SO2 from TPPs by retrofitting Flue Gas Desulphurisers (FGDs) by 2017. It was estimated that capital investments of the order of Rs.80,000 crores are required to retrofit FGDs in existing TPPs to comply with the stack emission limits for SO2 . In the prevailing scenario of financial stress in the power sector, can a transition plan be developed to achieve an optimal electricity source mix for the country? The implementation of the NIAS recommendations for a Transition Path for TPPs together with the expeditious installation of indigenous pollution control measures, such as coal beneficiation, sorbent injection, and high-efficiency electrostatic precipitators for PM Pollution control in all TPPs will not only help the power sector to breathe easy but also embody the true spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat