Decks have been cleared for a gas-based power plant at Hope Town in Andaman & Nicobar Islands to provide clean energy, a development that has needed tweaks in two of the related regulations by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
The plant will come up in South Andaman district’s Ferrargunj tehsil.
The Ministry giving a green signal to changes under Island Protection Zone (IZP) and Island Coastal Regulation Zone (ICRZ) for the plant that is to be located at “about two acres of undulated barren land having irregular topography with elevation of 2 m above MSL exists along the seashore”.
“The need to provide an enabling provision in the IPZ/ICRZ notification to meet the energy requirement of the islanders while reducing the dependency on highly polluting sources such as conventional diesel generators (DG sets) was given prime consideration,” the Ministry said about the clearance accorded on Thursday.
The plant is expected to work on “dual fuel technology i.e., through Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) or High-Speed Diesel (HSD) or single fuel (LNG)”.
The MoEF&CC had issued the notification regarding Island Protection Zone (IPZ) in January 2011 whereby certain coastal stretches were declared as Coastal Regulation Zone and restrictions were imposed on setting up and expansion of industries, operations, and processes in that area.
Similar were the restrictions under the March 2019 notification vis-a-vis Island Coastal Regulation Zone (ICRZ), especially for places such as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Ministry records show that when the Centre received a proposal from the Andaman and Nicobar Coastal Zone Management Authority (ANCZMA) regarding inclusion of Gas-based power plant within the ICRZ area under the provisions of the IPZ Notification 2011, the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) on August 16, 2021 advocated the need for providing cleaner fuel instead of the highly polluting sources such as conventional diesel generators (DG sets) used by the Islanders in absence of assured power supply.