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Government Actions this week

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Why India’s Deadly Coal-Power Plants Continue Polluting

Why don’t coal power plants clean up?
Coal plant managers appear to be a relaxed lot, an NGOs RTI queries to more than 90 units received barely 17 responses. But what was received was equally heart-breaking, little action has been taken over the last two years in most such plants. This despite court-ordered mandates.
To this author merely mandating stringent pollution standards will only lead to greater corruption and surreptitious breaking of rules.



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Over 300 coal-based power plants continue to emit more

Deadline missed.
Coal power plants account for at least a fifth of all air pollution in northern India if not more. Coal power by itself is responsible for air pollution crossing harmful levels. The court-mandated deadline has ended, yet little has been achieved, and this time there are no apologies either. It seems the government has given up on cleaning up coal.



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CPCB issues directions to Thermal Power Plants to ensure compliance

Another set of dates and mandates, what’s different this time?
The Indian government it appears is taking things a bit more seriously now on the coal pollution front. On the 11th of December, the Central Pollution Control Board issued directions to thermal power plants to ensure compliance with the new norms on Flue Gas De-Sulphurization (FGD) applicable on 414 units and upgradation of Electrostatic Precipitators applicable on 222 units.



Initiatives


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Low emissions technology powers a cleaner coal future

Let’s use better coal technology, says this coal lobbyist.
The link takes you to a note that professes better and cleaner coal technology use for large CO2 emission savings. I always include such arguments in this newsletter. The larger point is not that the newer technologies are better, but even the newer technologies will end up creating massive amounts of pollution and CO2.



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Power plant converts its carbon pollution to stone with new technology

A new experiment dumps CO2 from coal plants into the ground
What seems like a neat solution to pollution, may not be so. This plant dumps CO2 into the ground where it reacts with lime and becomes stone. However, there is a problem of earthquakes!  



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Replacing coal plants with renewables will help save Rs 54000 crore

This study claims massive savings by eliminating coal.
Shifting to non-renewables has the advantage of low marginal costs apart from low pollution. And this study estimates some supermassive savings by shifting to non-renewables like solar. I would love to say I like this Greenpeace study, but unfortunately, I don’t! Why? Once we remove subsidies and add energy storage costs, solar and wind will end up being costlier than they are currently. And if we add environment costs to coal, it would also be much costlier. Too many assumptions would be required for both these estimates.



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