Home / Industry / Energy /  Power minister stresses on procurement, use of biomass pellets in power plants

Power minister R.K. Singh on Monday stressed on the need for accelerated procurement and use of biomass pellets in thermal power plants.

He was speaking at an inter-ministerial meeting held to review the progress of biomass co-firing in thermal power plants along with Parali management in NCR and adjoining states. The meeting was held under the co-chairmanship of the union power minister and Bhupender Yadav, the union minister of environment, forest and climate change.

A statement from the ministry of power said that Singh emphasized that orders for procurement & use of biomass pellets in thermal power plants (TPP) must be expedited and at least 5% co-firing is to be ensured.

He also highlighted that power utilities should make all out efforts to complete the procurement process for existing tenders as soon as possible. The minister also underlined that till the time supply from the long term tenders is not started, power utilities should start procurement for the short term via alternate methods like commission agents as the harvesting season has already started.

“R.K Singh also stressed that measures should be taken for expeditious setting up of manufacturing facilities for torrification of biomass pellets in different locations to overcome the challenges of supply of biomass’s pellets," the statement said.

According to the power minister, the Principal Secretary (Environment) of each state should act as nodal person for biomass cofiring in the state.

The ministry would put penal provisions on those thermal power plants that do not comply with the ministry of power’s policy on biomass co-firing, he said, adding that sufficient emphasis was given on the fact that the health and safety of the citizens was topmost priority and no one has the right to put innocent lives in danger.

The statement said that, while till FY 2020-21, only eight power plants had co-fired biomass pellets, the corresponding number has increased to 39 as on date. In the NCR region, 10 TPPs have started co-firing.

As on date, 83,066 metric tonne (MT) of biomass has been co-fired in 39 thermal power plants across the country totalling to a capacity of 55390 MW. In NCR region, the biomass co-fired is 22,696 MT out of which 95% has been done by NTPC. It was suggested that other gencos should follow the footstep of NTPC for successful implementation of Biomass co-firing in the country.

On the biomass pellet procurement side, a large number of tenders have been floated by several power plants. Around 106 million metric tonne (MMT) of biomass tenders are at various stages of the tendering process.

During the review, it was observed that the target of 5% co-firing of biomass along with coal in TPPs in the country was still far off. However, most power plants have issued long term tenders and the situation is expected to improve when the supply will start in those tenders. Direction was given to all thermal power plants in NCR region to install biomass pellet manufacturing plants (torrefied / non-torrefied) in their premises, including the private power companies. GENCOs may also explore to put up plant through Consortium. It was further highlighted that the non-compliance in this regard would be viewed very strictly.

CAQM was also communicated to start considering penal provisions on thermal power plants which are not taking enough steps to curb emissions and not co-firing sufficient quantity of biomass. CPCB informed that financial incentives are to going to be provided for setting up pellet manufacturing plants in the NCR region, the statement said.

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