GURUGRAM: A study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has found that pollution levels (PM2.5 and PM10) increase by 30% in residential areas of the city due to use of diesel generator (DG) sets.
The study says 1,900 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) of PM10 and 300 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) of PM2.5 is generated throughout the day, when DG sets are used in excess of seven hours, and the pollution level remains high for up to an hour afterwards. Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general at CSE, said, “Use of diesel generators in societies is causing an alarming increase in pollution levels, with spikes of up to 15 times the safe level.”
Shekhar Deepak Singh, programme officer (renewable energy) at CSE told TOI, “As the city faces frequent power cuts, use of diesel generators as back-up is rampant.
During the study, we noticed that in societies where DG sets were operated for several hours a day, PM2.5 and PM10 rose by 30% and 50-100% respectively, compared to levels before they were used.” Experts recommended use of rooftop solar panels to cut down use of DG sets. “Gurugram’s rooftop solar potential is as high as 800MW, based on its Master Plan. The city should target 200MW by 2022, which is achievable if solar rooftop is actively promoted,” said Priyavrat Bhati, programme director (energy), CSE.
Some suggested the city should set up an annual solar use target. Programme director of International Solar Alliance (ISA), Rakesh Kumar, said, “The city needs to estimate total potential and set up ambitious annual and long-term targets to become a solar city.”
The Haryana government’s mandate requires large commercial and industrial entities to install solar rooftop systems. But, less than 5% of 6,200 entities have complied with it so far, since 2015, when the mandate was issued. The CSE study found even government agencies, including Huda, HSIIDC and DTCP haven’t incorporated the solar mandate into their regulations.
Authorities said lack of manpower is a bigger problem. Vineeta Singh, superintending engineer, DHBVN, said, “The discom is clearing net metering applications (required for solar systems) within a week. Billing issues are getting resolved. However, staff needs to be trained to push implementation.”
“Lack of manpower has affected coordination, monitoring and awareness-building efforts,” said Rameshwar Singh, district officer, HAREDA (Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency). With 10,552 diesel gensets of over 500kVA capacity, they remain a major contributor to air pollution in the lower atmosphere. Frequency of power outages is about 4-5 times a day, lasting 15 minutes to two hours. Besides, there are over 20 townships, particularly in new sectors, that are yet to get occupation certificates, so they don’t have electricity connections, and completely rely on diesel gensets.