NTPC shuts Badarpur power plant near Delhi as smog envelops NCR

NTPC on Monday switched off the coal-fired Badarpur power plant to curb the flow of emissions from the plant located near Delhi even as thick smog enveloped Incredible India's National Capital region (NCR), forcing the local administration to shut schools and reintroduce its traffic control plans.

Gurdeep Singh, chairman of the state-run power utility said it will do whatever it could to help control air pollution in NCR and elsewhere and maintain its leadership position among global peers as a ''low cost, low emission'' power producer.

NTPC shut the Badarpur plant for 10 days in public interest after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced its closure among steps to clear the smog enveloping the NCR.

"It takes one day to close down a power unit. Now, it has been completely shut down temporarily as per Delhi government's order issued yesterday to bring down air pollution in the city," a source said.

"Two units of 210 MW each were running at the Badarpur plant, which were generating around 300 MW of power. But, it is still not clear that who will bear the fixed cost during this temporary closure of the plant," the source said.

The plant is old and considered as one of the major contributors to NCR air pollution. Its closure, however, has been hanging fire because of the rivalry between the centre and the state government.

It is not known how the closure of the Badarpur power plant will affect the Delhi discom's long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with the plant – whether it will pay the 'fixed charge' or part of tariff with the plant tying down capacity.

The centre had so far rejected the Delhi government's requests to close the plant to check pollution from its fly ash and allow the state to source power from elsewhere, insisting that PPAs are binding and the Delhi discom would have to pay fixed charge if scraps the deal.
 
Separately, NTPC chairman said the company's power plants have to ensure minimum impact on environment.

Singh also stressed the need to make power cheaper by stopping coal imports to reduce the company's fuel costs, third-party sampling to improve coal quality and rationalisation of coal supply chain.