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Dubious Carbon Credit Projects

Written By Gopal Krishna on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | 1:27 AM

The opposing to dubious carbon trading waste to energy (WTE) projects in Delhi is growing. Even before the construction of the proposed projects, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. (ILFS) claims to have the experience in Waste to Energy Projects in Delhi, UP, Rajasthan, Maharastra. The Delhi projects are proposed in residential areas.

Vilas Mutemwar, Union Minister of Renewable Energy has already announced 31 such projects in the parliament although Supreme Court 's last order based on its Waste to Energy Committee's report had vacated stay for only 5 such projects that too with Biomethanation Technology. If Delhi incinerator based WTE projects succeed then it would set a precedent for all of India and South Asia.

As of April, 2008, when the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Ministries are promoting the proposed a 16 MW waste to energy plant. The MCD proposes to deliver waste for free and even the New Delhi Municipal Council is joining the bandwagon as well. This mixed waste will undergo a host of mechanical and thermal processes to flush out the combustible elements. The power plant proposes to use about a third of the daily waste of the city. The project cost is estimated at Rs 175 crore. The capital investment per MW of power is almost Rs 11 crore. The coal-powered plant can be set up at about Rs 4 crore per MW. The project is located within the city across 18 acres of land in Okhla and Timarpur. The construction has started this very month.

All necessary approvals taken from Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. It entails first convert waste into refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and then use it for electricity generation. While 1300 tonnes of garbage will be used to make RDF at Okhla, around 600 tonnes will be used in Timarpur. The company running the Okhla plant will supply MCD power at a rate ranging from Rs 2.5 per unit to Rs 3.47 per unit initially. Both projects have a deadline of 2010 and are expected to cost Rs 200 crore.

It is worth noting that R K Pachauri, the IPCC Chairperson seems to have influenced the waste management chapter in the IPCC report since his organization TERI of which he is the Director General approves of incinerators despite admitting its failures. There is documentary evidence regarding the position of TERI and the IPCC report is in public domain for all to see. The technology has failed a WTE project in Delhi in early 1990s. India also lost the case in an international arbitration court. The ministry of environment is the nodal ministry for CDM. TERI report on waste management and subsequently on CDM projects in waste management betray its biases.

Meanwhile, the Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Co Pvt Ltd (TOWMCL) the SPV between IL&FS and APTDC, has received registration from the Executive Board of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for its integrated waste to energy CDM project by the UN. The projects use process municipal waste into RDF, fluff, organic manure, biogas and products for generating power in Okhla and Timarpur. This integrated project hopes to generate 2.6 million Certified Emission Reductions (CERs)over a 10 year crediting period beginning 2009.

The proposed project includes two MSW processing plants at Okhla and Timarpur. The Okhla plant will also include a 16MW power plant using RDF and biogas derived from waste to be used as fuel for renewable power. Average RDF is about 225 TPD at both locations. A biomethantion plant with 100TPD capacity is also planned at Okhla.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has proposed to initiate a waste to energy (WTE) project at Timarpur that uses incineration. The Timarpur Waste Management Company Pvt. Ltd. (TWMCPL), a subsidiary of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. (ILFS) plans to generate 6 MW of electricity from the project at Timarpur, Delhi. It plans to process and treat 214,500 MT of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and produce 69,000 MT of Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) in a year as per company's project design document. The project requires an investment of Rs.580 million. The promoters claim that the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance has agreed to provide 20% of the project's cost as a capital grant.

TWMCPL is a subsidiary of IL&FS and has been created only for Timarpur project. A Memorandum of Understanding between MCD and IL&FS was signed in March 2005 by D K Mittal, the CEO of TWMCPL and Rakesh Mehta, IAS the then Commissioner of MCD. Mehta is Chief Secretary in Delhi Government. Mittal is also a serving IAS officer, besides being the CEO, Special Infrastructure Projects, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS). Mittal was earlier with Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

On 14 March 2005, MCD said that it plans to earn carbon credits from the project. TWMPCL has since applied for approval from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board to earn carbon credit. The project got listed before the board on 23 May 2006, and the board sought comments until 21 June, 2006. TWMCPL had submitted its project design document.

The Indian officials like four IAS officers Rakesh Mehta, D K Mittal, A K Gupta (MNRE) and Rajesh Kumar Shethi must answer why the 1990 plant failed in Timarpur, Delhi. The technology that failed is exactly the same technology that is being suggested now. These polluting technologies are being pushed in various disguises. It is noteworthy that Rajesh Kumar Sethi who is currently the Chairman of the CDM Executive Board was formerly Director, Indian Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF). He was appointed a CDM EB member in the first place in his capacity as a Ministry official. It would be almost impossible for him to question any project that has been incorrectly cleared by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) because CPCB comes directly under the ministry. The ministry has been inconsistent in its stance. There is a white paper of the ministry that rules out use of incinerators because it has failed. The same paper recommends biological treatment method.

Instead of taking any from the lessons from the past failures, Vilas Muttemwar union minister of state for new & renewable energy (MNRE) says that 31 waste to energy based power projects aggregating to 68.62 MW capacity in 8 states have been set up with central financial assistance from ministry of new & renewable energy. Central financial assistance of Rs 10.03 crore for waste to power projects has been provided by the ministry to various states during the last 2 years.

A Round Table on 30th April, 2008 to discuss “Incinerator based waste to energy/dubious carbon credit projects” and plan future action is scheduled atIndian Social Institute, Near Sai Baba Mandir (adjacent to Lodi Road), New Delhi.
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