The Environment and Forestry Ministry has been urged to be more ambitious concerning stricter emission standards for coal-fired power plants in an upcoming revision of Regulation No. 21/2008 on stationary sources of air pollutants.
Through the revision, the ministry plans to impose stricter emission standards by setting a maximum emission level of 550 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/Nm3) for sulfur dioxide ( SO2 ) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) as well as 75 mg/Nm3 for particulate matters for coal plants in operation before Dec. 1, 2008.
Margaretha Quina, the head of the pollution control division at the Jakarta-based Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), said the scope of the new standards was too broad, as it would also apply to old power plants built in the 1980s.
“The government should just shut down such old power plants, instead of forcing them to install air pollution control facilities,” Quina said recently.
Furthermore, the ministry will set maximum levels of 400 mg/Nm3 for SO2, 300 mg/Nm3 for NOx and 50 mg/Nm3 for particulate matter from power plants commencing operations in the period of Jan. 1, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2020.
Quina pointed out, however, that there were actually many coal-fired power plants in the country, specifically those built in the 2006-2010 period, that were cabable of emitting no more than 300 mg/Nm3 of SO2 and NOx.
“Hence, it would make sense to make the new emission standards even more strict,” she said. (bbn)