The coal-fired power sector is one of the most polluting sectors in India. Coal-fired power plants contributed 60% of the total particulate matter, 45% of the total SO2, 30% of the total NOX, and more than 80% of the total mercury emissions from all industrial sectors in the country in 2020. A robust monitoring system delivered by continuous emission monitors (CEM) is required to accurately account for these emissions. The installation of CEM throughout various industrial sectors (such as utility boilers, incinerators, and paper production) in India was mandated in 2014 but implementation has been significantly delayed. According to the 2018 guidelines, each source must install CEM systems and then register them through the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) online registration portal and separately to the respective State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) so that they deliver real-time data directly to the regulators. However, studies published by stakeholders in India since 2017 have identified potential issues with CEM installation, calibration, operation, and maintenance as well as with an inadequate knowledge base among stakeholders. Problems with the application of CEM for compliance monitoring in India are significant and, without fundamental changes in legislation and standardisation within the sector, the situation is unlikely to improve.
This report reviews publicly available data on CEM at coal-fired power plants in India. Recommendations are given for improving CEM utilisation and data handling as well as a roadmap for future capacity building among stakeholders through workshops and training courses.