Monday, May 17, 2021


Pollution control at thermal plants a costly proposition for PSPCL

VINOD GUPTA | March 01, 2021 01:03 PM

CHANDIGARH: The installation of flue gas de-sulphurization (FGD) units to control pollution at the Lehra Mohabatt, the thermal plant is a costly proposition for PSPCL and is going to burden the consumers.

PSPCL has planned to install a dry FGD system for Lehra Mohabatt thermal units to cut down emission of flue gases and to improve the air quality around power plant as directed by Central Pollution Control Board.

PSPCL had earlier tendered for a wet system flue gas desulphurisation system but keeping in view the cost involved it has now decided to opt for the dry system at about half the cost.

Dry scrubbers have lower capital and annual costs than wet systems because they are simpler, demand less water, and waste disposal is less complex.
PSPCL will have to spend more than Rs. 150 crores @ Rs 0.25 crore per MW for the proposed dry system at Lehra Mohabbat. This can also impact the revenue requirements of the PSPCL and subsequently result in another hike in the cost of power.

PSPCL has been writing to pollution control authorities requesting them not to press for installation of FDG units as thermal units are run only during paddy season when there is less pollution. The present plant load factor is less than 15% only.

There is no proposal to install FGD units at the Ropar thermal plant as two units have already been closed and the other four units are likely to be closed within two years. A 400 KV substation at Ropar is being set up to enhance the existing available transfer capacity (ATC)of 6500 MW for importing power from the northern grid.

V K Gupta a spokesperson of All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) said that thermal plants in Punjab used Indian coals which have high ash content but do not have sulphur. Techno economics of retrofitting old plants with FGDs when they are likely to be retired should be taken into account. Further, the plant load factor of thermal plants is less than 20% as they run only partially during paddy season and under such circumstances where is the necessity of this wasteful expenditure.

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