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Ministry of New and Renewable Energy looking at possibility of 10GW from surplus biomass in the next 10 years:Deepak Gupta

Mr. Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said that the government is  launching a new policy initiative of small biomass plants of 1 to 2 MW. Another big area is dedicated energy plantations with 1 to 2 MW plants at the tailend. “We have set a target of 10,000 MW in the next 10 years,” he said, adding 2-3 plants have already been commissioned. Besides providing power, this will also promote forests, he said earlier in January, as Panchabuta had mentioned.

Given the challenges associated in identification of such vast tracts of lands in most parts of the country,Panchabuta has mentioned that this certainly seems like an ambitious target set by the MNRE for the small biomass projects.

Now according to reports, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is looking at the possibility of generating 10,000 MW of power in the next 10 years from surplus biomass where they had earlier set the target as 1o,oooMW.

The rising demand for energy on one hand and depletion of fossil fuels and increasing import of coal on the other, has made it necessary for us to look at dedicated plantation-based biomass power and energy as an alternative source,” MNRE Secretary Deepak Gupta told a national workshop on “Dedicated Plantation based Biomass Power and Energy” here today, the report adds.

MNRE was exploring the possibility of generating 10,000 MW of power in the next 10 years from surplus biomass, both agro and forest residues, he said.

In addition, small megawatt biomass power plants could be set up for feeding power at the tail end of the grid (11 KV line). These plants would ensure power to many villages.

MNRE proposed to bring together stakeholders to formulate a strategy to provide sustainable and reliable energy solution at an affordable cost at the grassroot level in an integrated and environment-friendly manner, he said.

At present, biomass-based power plants are mainly based on surplus agro residues such as rice husk, cotton and arhar stock and other agro and forest residue and availability of biomass has been a major issue to operate the plants to full capacity.

MNRE Director DK Khare said the recent draft “National Mission Document on National Mission for Greening India” by the Ministry of Environment and Forest aimed at increasing forest-tree cover on 5 million hectares of forest/non-forest lands and improving the quality of forest cover on another 5 million hectares of degraded forest land.

He said recent efforts made by private developers in raising plantation of fast growing tree species such as bambusa balcooa (bema bamboo), melia dubia, paulownia have shown encouraging results by demonstrating a high yield of 40-60 tonnes per hectare per year in a rotation of 3-4 years.

Panchabuta is glad to note that MNRE has now said that they will bring together stakeholders to formulate a strategy and that they are exploring the possibility of generating 10,000 MW of power which seems like a more pragmatic approach.

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