New Delhi: India has retired a total of 56 coal-based thermal power plants between March 2016 and June this year, said Minister of State (MoS) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey. In a written response to a question raised in the Lok Sabha on July 30, the minister said, "As per information compiled by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 126 coal based thermal power plant units (of 56 thermal power plants) have been shut down during March 2016 to June 2021 due to various reasons viz. techno-economic and commercial considerations including compliance of emission norms."
Choubey said that in 2019, the CEA had identified 81 coal-based, old and inefficient thermal power plants for tentative retirement after examining on case to case basis. "Out of these 81 units, 34 units have been retired up to June 2021. MoEF&CC vide notification G.S.R. 243 (E) dated 31.03.2021 has prescribed specific time-line with conditions for compliance of emission norms. The notification also provides for retirement/shut down of units which are non-compliant of emission norms, along with levy of environmental compensation in case of delay in compliance of emission norms," the minister told the Lower House of Parliament.
According to the data shared by the minister, West Bengal has retired the highest number of coal-based thermal power plants in the country at nine, followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu at eight each. While Jharkhand has retired seven, Gujarat has retired five, and Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Telangana four each. Delhi has retired two coal-based thermal power plants — one in Badarpur and another in Rajghat.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has granted total 26 Environmental Clearances (EC) under the provisions of the EIA Notification, 2006, to coal-based power plants during the last five years, said Choubey.