Secretary Power reviews status of Biomass utilization in thermal Power Plants in the country

New Delhi : Union Secretary for Power  Alok Kumar took review meeting on   status of bio-mass co-firing in the thermal power plants on 28th October 21. The meeting was attended by Central Electricity Authority, CMD NTPC, Representatives of Punjab, Haryana, UP, Mission Director – Nation Bio Mission and senior officials of Ministry of Power.

It emerged that as a result of various actions taken by the Ministry of Power, initiatives for procurement of Biomass have been taken up by NTPC and different States as under:

(i)  NTPC placed order for 8,65,000 tons biomass pellets for which supply is already in progress. Further, NTPC has placed an additional order of 65,000 tons in October ’21. Another tranche of procurement for 25,00,000 tons is in progress  for which the vendors are invited to submit offer by 1st November 21.

(ii) Haryana, Punjab and UP are together procuring about 13,01,000 tons of biomass pellets for co-firing in their power plants. The orders are expected to be finalized in Nov 2021.

In this context earlier,  Ministry of Power on 17thNovember, 2017 issued Policy on biomass utilization for power generation through co-firing in coal based power plants. In this earlier Policy, it was advised in the policy that coal based thermal power plants, except those having ball and tube mill, of power generation utilities, to endeavor to use 5-10% blend of biomass pellets made, primarily, of agro residue along with coal after assessing the technical feasibility, viz. safety aspect etc.

In order to further support the energy transition in the country and to achieve the target of cleaner energy sources, the policy has been modified and issued on 08.10.2021. This modified policy would provide the necessary direction in achieving the desired goals. The salient points of the “Revised Policy for Biomass Utilization for Power Generation through Co-firing in Coal based Power Plants” are as under:

(i) It has been mandated that all thermal power plants to use 5% blend of biomass pellets made, primarily, of agro residue along with coal with effect from one year of the date of issue of this guideline. The obligation shall increase to 7% (except for those having Ball & Tube mill  the use of biomass remain 5%)  with effect from two years after the date of issue of this order and thereafter.

(ii) It has been advised in the policy that minimum contract period for procurement of biomass pellets by generating utilities shall be for 7 years so as to avoid delay in awarding contracts by generating companies every year and also to build up long term supply chain.

(iii) Provisions related to tariff determination and scheduling shall be as given below:

    1. For projects set up under Section 62 of the Electricity Act 2003, the increase in cost due to co-firing of biomass pellets shall be pass through in Energy Charge Rate (ECR).
    2. For projects set up under Section 63 of the Electricity Act 2003, the increase in ECR due to biomass co-firing can be claimed under Change in Law provisions.
    3. Such additional impact on ECR shall not be considered in deciding Merit Order Despatch (MOD) of the power plant.
    4. Obligated Entities such as DISCOMS can meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) by buying such generation of co-firing.

The copy of the Revised Policy is available on the website of Ministry of Power at weblink as under:

https://powermin.gov.in/sites/default/files/Revised_Biomass_Policy_dtd_08102021.pdf

Ministry of Power has already setup the National Mission on use of Biomass in coal based thermal power plants, to address the issue of air pollution due to farm stubble burning and to reduce carbon footprints of thermal power generation, which would support the energy transition in the country and our targets to move towards cleaner energy sources.

The Mission is fully functional at present and taking steps to encourage and support the biomass co-firing in the thermal power plants.

The Mission is taking steps for development of the biomass supply chain, sensitising stakeholder and encouraging budding entrepreneurs. Recently two  training & awareness programs were organised at Faridabad, Haryana and Nangal, Ropar, in this month. Both programs witnessed active participation by the farmers in the region wherein they were sensitized on negative impact of crop residue burning on the soil productivity and avenues to supplement their income by participating in the value chain of biomass co-firing in TPP. More such training program are planned in the near future. Further, large scale advertising & media campaigns are also being done regarding the benefit of eco-friendly utilisation of Biomass in Thermal Power Plants.

As a result of these efforts, around 1400 tons of biomass has been fired in the Month of October 2021 and a total 53000 tons of Biomass has been utilised as Green fuel for   in Power Plants so far. Parali burning incidences in the most affected six states like Punjab, Haryana, UP, Delhi, Rajasthan & MP has reduced by 58.3 % in 2021 till date as compared to same period in 2020. It is expected that the efforts of MOP through the newly formed National Mission will be able to curtail air pollution in North West India as well as prevent loss of fertility of agriculture land and provide a sustainable income source for farmers, suppliers and Biomass fuel manufacturers resulting into overall development.