Odisha to help West Africa’s power plants

Accra (Ghana): The pollution control board of Odisha has promised to share its experiences with West African countries that are planning to turn to coal-fired plants to increase electricity generation, Nihar Ranjan Sahoo, a senior environmental engineer with the board, said here.

Last year the Nigerian government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Chinese consortium, HTG-Pacific Energy, to set up coal-fired plants .

The proposed $3.7-billion plant is to be developed in the eastern state of Enugu. In neighbouring Ghana, the mother company of the local power producer Sonon-Asogli, another Chinese company named Shenzhen Energy Group (SEG), is also planning to build a 700 MW coal-fired power plant which is estimated to cost $700 million.

Sahoo, who was part of a three-member delegation in Accra, said, Odisha has over 600 coal mines and coal-fired power plants producing between 1,000 MW and 3,000 MW of power and so, “we have the experience that we can share”.

He said the delegation which was in the country to study Ghana’s environmental rating system, AKOBEN, put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rate the mines and industries on their performances for public disclosure, intend to incorporate the reforms that they have set in motion.

The AKOBEN programme is an environmental performance rating and disclosure initiative of the EPA, which is an initiative, that assesses the environmental performance of mining and manufacturing operations using a five-colour rating scheme. The five colours are gold, green, blue, orange and red indicating environmental performance ranging from excellent to poor.

In addition to Ghana, the delegation intends to travel to Indonesia which, he said, also has put in place a robust environmental monitoring mechanism.

“This is to give us insights into how we can improve our environmental management system in order to make us give our citizens a clean environment,” Sahoo told IANS.

“We have in place a system that makes us penalise those who breach environmental rules but we want to improve on what we have been doing so far by learning from other people to pick their strengths and weaknesses,” he added.

}