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Coal use to be banned in NCR

  • Published
    11th Jun, 2022
Context

Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) recently said that the use of coal as a fuel will be banned across the National Capital Region (NCR) from January 1, 2023

About
  • Once the ban is in force, coal can no longer be used for industrial or domestic purposes.
  • However, thermal power plants will be exempted from the ban.
  • From October 1, 2022 onward, a ban on coal use will be applicable in areas where PNG infrastructure and supply is already available.

Why has the use of coal been banned?

  • Coal is currently the dominant industrial fuel in the NCR and it is important to have clean fuel across sectors, while looking for significant reduction in air pollution levels.
  • Industries in the region consume around 1.7 million tonnes of coal annually.
    • With about 4 million tonnes being consumed in six major industrial districts of NCR alone
  • The move is meant to phase out the use of coal as a fuel to deal with concerns of air pollution across the NCR.
  • According to a study by The Energy and Resources Institute in 2018, within the 30 per cent contribution of the industrial sector in PM2.5 level in winter in Delhi:
    • industries using coal, biomass, pet-coke and furnace oil contributed around 14 per cent,
    • 8 per cent was contributed by the brick manufacturing sector,
    • 6 per cent by power stations, and
    • 2 per cent by stone crushers

Challenges in enforcing the ban:

  • Compliance monitoring: The implementation will involve thousands of small point sources and compliance monitoring will be much more of a challenge, when compared to large sources.
  • Pricing of gas: Natural gas is now more expensive than coal.
    • If we can find the correct pricing policy, industries will be willing to shift.
  • Expensive equipment: Switching over to operating on gas will involve changes in the equipment that can be expensive. 
    • The expenses for the equipment can be difficult to bear and subsidising it is important.
  • Product costing: For the entities, product costing could be difficult when it comes to competing with manufacturers outside the NCR.
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