Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Waste to Energy Plant at Okhla (Delhi) facing challenges

The WtE plant in Okhla (Delhi) is treating around 2000 MT/d of MSW in Delhi, but it does not get any tipping fee for doing this service to the city. Instead, it is supposed to sustain operations merely from the revenue coming from the sale of electricity. Given the fact that technically the plant energy utilisation can not be more than 22% - there is no scope for cogeneration(!); and the energy tariff that it gets has come down way below the original estimates, the plant bottom line is in deep red. No wonder there is little incentive to be on the cutting edge as regards emission control and that's perhaps the reason that it has come on the radar of the judiciary. While the NGT has allowed the plant to operate for the foreseeable period, it has slapped a fine of Rs. 25 Lakh for noncompliance as regards air pollution. See the link below:

The operator will have plenty of incentive to comply with emission norms if it has a healthy bottom line. And a healthy bottom line will happen only if it gets paid for the services that is being rendered to the city, the municipal body and to the people. The great service is disappearance of around 2000 MT of garbage and conversion into as little as about 200 MT of ash on a daily basis. The municipality gets plenty of benefit as it does not have to struggle to find space for landfill (or let's say, the load on its open dump sites is reduced); and the people of the city benefit as the rotting waste and the breeding of disease vectors are avoided. However, there appears to be no premium being placed on these intangibles and the operator is expected to sustain simply on the revenue coming from sale of electricity.

If there is non compliance on air emissions, then there is major concern on its health effects which are far more severe (due to dioxins and furans, among others) compared to disposal on a dump site. Either way the public suffers. But its only a transparent tipping fee mechanism that can help all stakeholders. 

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