CSE has been studying the coal-based thermal power sector in India since 2011. The work started as an off shoot of the UNDP’s The Green Ratings Project (GRP), one of the millennium development goal projects. The GRP rating of Coal-based thermal power sector ‘Heat on Power’, released in 2015, revealed the sector's poor environmental performance, and the inadequacy of pollution standards put in place by the MoEFCC. The report spurred wide debates among policy makers, and later in that year, when COP was ongoing, the Environmental Ministry released stricter pollution control norms for the thermal power sector with a deadline of two years for implementation.
Since then, the CSE has focused its efforts to address concerns associated with technology, timelines, investments etc. that could have potentially derailed implementation of the norms through dedicated research and continued advocacy. Currently, the programme focuses pushing implementation through on-ground engagement especially at state-level to track implementation status and survey plants, and build technical capacity of industry and regulators, among others.