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3 NTPC projects get green signal

Two projects are in Maharashtra,one in Bihar.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | New Delhi |
December 29, 2010 2:50:24 am

Making a “one-time exception” to its recently laid-out policy,the Environment Ministry has granted clearance to three super-critical coal-based power projects to be set up by the NTPC.

Two of these projects are coming up in Maharashtra — in Sholapur and Mouda — and the third in Nabinagar in Bihar. Each of these projects consists of three plants of 660 MW each.

The clearance has been awarded despite the fact that the coal supplies for these projects have not yet been finalised. On November 1,the ministry had come out with a new guideline,saying approvals for coal-based projects would henceforth be granted only after the coal linkage was clearly established. The order had stipulated that new projects would have to specify where the coal would be sourced from and whether the coal mine in question was operating with all necessary approvals.

However,Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is learnt to have agreed to make an exception in this case considering the importance of the three projects to the country’s energy security. These are the first in a series of plants being set up on super-critical technology that would produce electricity with highly improved efficiencies and,therefore,be much clearn environmentally than what is being produced till now.

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While approving the project,Jairam is also learnt to have argued that these projects are crucial for India meeting its international commitment under the Copenhagen Accord for improving its emission intensity. At last year’s climate change conference in the Danish capital,India had offered to reduce its emission intensity — or the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP — by 20 to 25 per cent by the year 2020,as its contribution to the global effort in dealing with the adverse effects of climate change.

The expert committee of the Environment Ministry had also recommended that these projects be cleared but the approval had been held up for some time in view of the new guideline that the ministry had issued only last month. Land acquisition for all the three projects is at an advanced stage.

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