India Notifies Stricter Standards for Thermal Power Plants

Moving towards stricter emission norms to minimise pollution, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, recently amended emission standards of thermal power plants. The amended standards eliminate what until now had been a notable failing in the regulation of the thermal power generation sector, by introducing for the first time, limits on the emissions of Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Mercury (Hg), and making the existing standard for Particulate Matter (PM) significantly stricter.[1] Under the amended standards, thermal power plants have been classified in to three categories based on their date of installation:

  • Before 31st December, 2006
  • Between 31st December 2006 to 31st December, 2016
  • After 31st December, 2016.

In certain cases, separate standards have been notified for units with less than 500 MW capacity and those exceeding a capacity of 500 MW. All existing plants have to achieve the specified standards within two years.

Earlier this year, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation released an assessment of opportunities available for improving efficiency and reducing emissions of thermal power plants in India. We welcome this move by the Government given that the amended standards will bring the environmental performance of thermal power plants in India closer to those operating in other large developed and emerging economies.

The table below presents the amended standards:

PM 10Mg/NM3 Date of installation Capacity PM10Mg/ Nm3 SO2Mg/ Nm3 NOxMg/ Nm3 HgMg/Nm3
< 210 MW: 350> 210 MW: 150 < 2013 < 500 MW 100 600 600 0.03
> 500  MW 100 200 600 0.03
2014-2016 < 500  MW 50 600 300 0.03
> 500  MW 50 200 300 0.03
>2017 < 500  MW 30 100 100 0.03
> 500  MW 30 100 100 0.03




[1] The existing standard for PM was 350 mg/Nm3 for TPPs with a capacity less than 210 MW and 150 mg/Nm3 for those with a higher capacity than 210MW.