India faces a huge energy deficit, with millions of households without power for basic lighting or cooking, and coal power is essential for the next few decades to resolve this energy crisis, to address the issue of energy access, which is just as important as the environmental problems of unclean power.
Centre for Science and Environment believes that we need to push for renewables – not because we can afford to do without coal, but because it is the urgent requirement to address the looming climate change concerns. At the same time, it is equally important is to clean up our coal power sector so that it does not destroy the environment and take human lives. This entails shutting down old and inefficient power plants, and reducing emissions from the remaining
Shantanu Dixit, group coordinator, Prayas Energy Group, has been working in the power sector in the field of analysis and advocacy from 1992. He has worked on a range of power sector-related issues
Lesley Sloss is Principal Environmental Consultant at Clean coal centre, International Energy Agency, United Kingdom. Sloss's areas of expertise include emissions and effects of coal power; ash management; mine reclamation; legislation and control; and controlling mercury emissions from power plants
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CSE expects coal to be a dominant share till battery costs drop in India. So cleaning coal to avoid local pollution becomes undebatable objective. CSE is working with coal-based thermal power sector since 2011 to achieve this. CSE highlighted the poor performance and need for regulations in Feb 2015 through it publication 'Heat on Power'. This spurred wide debates amongst the stakeholders. In Dec 2015, environmental norms were announced for the sector. Prior to which, the sector had no limits for pollution control. Since, then CSE has been playing a watchdog to support effective implementation of the norms.
CSE is actively monitoring and providing support to power stations and regulators to ensure implementation as per the deadline committed. FGD tenders and In-combustion NOx tenders has been awarded for about 15-20 GW till date (April, 2019).