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Coal-fired Powers Plants are a Not a Desirable Energy Source
Adoor, Kerala – March 13, 2013

The emissions from coal plants contribute to increased mortality and higher incidence of disease and hence they are not a desirable energy source. This has been the position of Ecorun India. We are now vindicated by a research study [1].

India ranks fifth in the world in electricity generated. Of the 210 gigawatts generated here from all sources, 66 percent is from coal. The amount of coal used will only increase since the 12th Five Year Plan (2012 – 2017) and the 13th Five Year Plan have scheduled power increases of 76 GW and 93 GW, respectively, part of which, if not most of it, is to come from coal.

In 2011-12 coal-fired plants in India with total capacity of 121 GW consumed 503 million tonnes of coal and released 665 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. In addition, they emitted the following in to the atmosphere (1ktonne = 1000 tonnes = 1 million kg):

Particulates with diameter less than 2.5 kicrograms  – 580 ktonnes
Sulphur dioxides  – 2100 ktonnes
Nitrogen oxides  – 2000 ktonnes
Carbon monoxide  – 1100 ktonnes
Organic compounds – 100 ktonnes

At this time, outdoor air pollution is among the top ten causes of deaths in India. In addition, dry and wet deposition of heavy metals and sulphur oxides adversely impact agriculture; this is primarily due to the lack of gas desulphurization, the study says. The study also noted that India has no prescribed standards for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury.

Clearly, it is immediate that India mandates emission standards for coal plants as well as require continuous real time monitoring of emissions.

[1] Sarath K. Guttikunda and Puja Jawahar, ‘Coal Kills – An Assessment of Death and Disease caused by India’s dirtiest energy source,’ Urban and Greenpeace India, with support from Conservation Action Trust (CAT), 2013

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