Coal-based thermal power facilities in India are ‘inefficient’ when it comes to adherence to pollution standards, resource utilisation and operational efficiency, according to a study conducted by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The study was based on analysis and rating of 47 coal fired units across the country. It was a part of Green Rating Project (GRP) by CSE, which is an international research and advocacy organisation headquartered in New Delhi, India.

The study report ‘Heat on Power’ evaluated the facilities on the basis of global environmental and energy standards. Nearly 50% of the operational power facilities in 2011-12 had been a part of the study.

With sector scores as low as 23%, compared to the maximum of 80% that a power generating facility can get, CSE’s deputy director general Chandra Bhushan said: "Our analysis essentially says that this sector has a lot of room for improvement."

"In India, where the demand for power is increasing, power plants are performing way below the global benchmarks."

Capacity utilisation for the thermal power facilities are significantly low, with plants operating at 60%-70% of their capacity merely. The report suggests that there is a need to improve the rate to meet the power demands of the country instead of developing new power projects.

Inefficient use of available resources and lack of technological efficiency are contributing factors for the rising levels of pollution, according to the study.

NTPC’s Badarpur facility in Delhi has been found to be one of the most polluting in the country.

CSE director general Sunita Narain said, "The objective of the study was to give a clear picture of the environmental performance of the sector.

"Our finding is that in India, where the demand for power is increasing, power plants are performing way below the global benchmarks.

"Given the rapid increase in coal-based power projected by the government, stress on precious resources like water and land will increase, and air and water pollution will worsen, unless corrective measures are taken by the industry and policy-makers."