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Power shortage lures investors to biomass

According to reports, in the backdrop of acute power shortage in Haryana, private players are pushing ahead biomass-based power projects. With thermal power projects shut down due to technical reasons and inadequate coal supply, independent power producers are taking up biomass power projects mainly based on waste of agriculture and distillery.

Biomass based projects that were hanging fire are being pursued hard by private players as the thermal projects in the state are facing shutdown due to technical reasons and non availability of coal. The state government has lately signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with four private players for setting up of five biomass power projects of 51 MW capacity with an investment of Rs 230 crore.

Out of these, two projects are likely to be soon commissioned. Haryana known for wheat, paddy, mustard and cotton generate 8.4 million tonnes of biomass annually. A study by Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) puts the power generation from paddy waste at 612 MW while wheat straws could generate around 157 MW of power.

The agriculture residue from mustard could generate 130 mw while biomass from cotton and bajra has potential to generate around 53 MW and 59 MW in the state. “The overall power potential from biomass is estimated at 1000 MW,” an official of Haryana Renewable Energy Department said.

To produce electricity from the distillery waste, a project of one MW capacity at Ashoka Distillery and Chemicals Hathin in district Palwal and three MW project at Globus Spirit, Smalkhan, district Panipat had been setup.

For generation of power from agricultural waste, 11 projects of 24.95 MW capacity through cogeneration route had been setup in the industries, an official spokesperson said.

Already power projects based on bagasse in Sugar Mills through cogeneration route has been set up at cooperative mills including a 1.8 MW project at Meham cooperative sugar Mill, 24 MW project at Shahbad cooperative sugar mill, 16 MW project at Rohtak cooperative sugar mill and 2 MW project at Hafed cooperative sugar mill at Asandh had been setup.

To create awareness among the students and masses about renewable energy and energy conservation technologies, 21 District Level Energy Parks had been setup in the State with an investment of Rs. 1.8 crore.

“Haryana is one of the leading States where Energy Conservation Fund has been created for execution of energy conservation programmes”, he added. On its part the state government had increased annual budget of Renewable Energy Department to Rs 42.43 crore in the year 2012-13 from Rs 3.9 crore in the year 2004-2005.

To promote renewable energy at village level a scheme to reward the Panchayats has been initiated that awards first, second and third prizes of Rs 5 lakh , Rs 4 lakh and Rs 3lakh respectively at the state level.

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