Power ministry revises biomass co-firing policy to promote sustainable energy practices

The decision would encourage farmers, entrepreneurs as well as thermal power utilities to strive to establish a sustainable biomass ecosystem, achieve the targets for co-firing, reduce stubble burning and help ensure a cleaner and greener future

Saurav Anand
Updated27 Jun 2023
To promote sustainable energy practices, the ministry of power has announced the revision of biomass co-firing policy.
To promote sustainable energy practices, the ministry of power has announced the revision of biomass co-firing policy.

New Delhi: To promote sustainable energy practices, the ministry of power on Tuesday announced the revision of biomass co-firing policy. This revision will enable power plants to purchase biomass pellets at benchmark prices, reducing import dependencies and enhancing the adoption of biomass as a renewable energy source.

The move comes amid evolving market conditions for biomass pellets and the feedback received from stakeholders, including thermal power plants, pellet manufacturers, farmers, and financial institutions.

According to the ministry, the benchmarked prices will ensure the viability of the biomass sector, have an impact on electricity tariffs, and streamline the procurement process for power utilities.

“Price benchmarking of pellets will enable the TPPs as well as Pellet Vendors to establish a sustainable supply mechanism for co-firing of pellets. The benchmarked price, as finalised by the committee under CEA, will be effective from 1st January, 2024,” it added.

Until the implementation of the benchmarked prices, power utilities will resort to short-term tenders to fulfill their immediate biomass pellet requirements for thermal power plants.

Union power minister R.K. Singh said that co-firing of biomass in coal based power plants is a key policy of the government aimed at energy security, reduced use of fossil fuels and at the same time boosting income of farmers. Revised policy shall help in achieving these goals faster.

Explaining the decision, power secretary Alok Kumar, said that the decision would encourage farmers, entrepreneurs as well as thermal power utilities to strive to establish a sustainable biomass ecosystem, achieve the targets for co-firing, reduce stubble burning and help to ensure a cleaner and greener future for the citizens of India.

In another modification of the policy, it has been directed that since availability of torrefied biomass pellets is presently limited in the country, the torrefied pellets shall only be procured by utilities for which it is technically unavoidable and utilities which can use non-torrefied pellets should utilise the same only.

In line with the policy, which mandates co-firing of biomass with coal in thermal power plants, so far around 1.80 lakh MT of biomass fuel has been co-fired in 47 thermal power plants in the country totalling a capacity of 64,350 MW. Of this, more than 50,000 MT was co-fired during first two months of FY24, surpassing the previous highest ever annual quantity.

About 114 million MT of biomass pellets are at various stages of tendering . Purchase order has been placed for around 69 lakh MT of biomass pellets by thermal power plants. With the enabling policies in place and thrust from MoP through SAMARTH mission, substantial growth of biomass cofiring in TPPs across the country is envisaged.

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