State-run power giant NTPC has emerged as the top biomass user, having co-fired about 58,000 MT of biomass, while tendering a total of 10.7 MMT over a short-term and long-term basis, the power ministry said on Wednesday.
As of date, approximately 59,000 metric tonnes (MT) of biomass has been co-fired in thermal power plants in the country, while tenders for 12 million metric tonnes (MMT) are at different stages of process for short-term & long-term duration, the ministry said in a statement.
"The biomass co-fired in the NCR (national capital) region stands at 21,000 MT and tenders floated in the region are about 5.50 MMT. Contracts have already been awarded for more than 11 lakh MT of biomass pellets," it added.
Elaborating the progress of the national biomass mission, SAMARTH (Sustainable Agrarian Mission on use of Agro Residue in Thermal Power Plants), the ministry said, among the state governments, Haryana State Genco has been able to co-fire around 550 MT of biomass in two of its stations and floated tenders worth 11 lakh metric tonnes.
Some of the public and private generating companies have started co-firing small quantities of biomass in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, it added.
"The results so far are encouraging and there is still a long way to go before the country can achieve its target of 5-10 per cent co-firing in all plants in the country. This will be achieved with the active participation of all Central/State Gencos and Independent Power Producers (IPPs)," the ministry said.
According to the statement, Union Power Secretary chaired the second meeting of the Steering Committee for SAMARTH i.e. National Mission on Use of Biomass in coal-based thermal Power Plants on January 14, 2022.
He reviewed the status of biomass co-firing and the progress of the actions being taken to promote the co-firing in the thermal power plants in the meeting.
The agro-residue/ biomass earlier considered as a waste product has now begun to produce zero-carbon electricity for the citizens of the country. In turn, farmers are getting additional income by selling the stubble/ biomass for conversion into torrefied/ non-torrefied biomass pellets.
In order to reduce stubble burning and to reduce the carbon footprint of thermal power plants while increasing the income of farmers, the government has taken various proactive steps with the establishment of the National Mission on Use of Biomass in Thermal Power Plants.
Under the National Mission on Use of Biomass in Thermal Power Plants, advertisement, awareness campaigns and training activities are actively being pursued. Hoardings in public places and advertisements in popular newspapers in the northern states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have already started.
More advertisement campaigns are planned in 2022, especially in the months leading up to the paddy harvesting season, the ministry said.
For overall monitoring of the Mission and to facilitate the Mission on inter-ministerial issues/constraints, a Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Power has been constituted.
The Ministry of Power's policy on "Biomass Utilization for Power Generation through Co-firing in Coal-based Power Plants" issued in October 2021, mandates all thermal power plants in the country to use 5 to 10 per cent biomass along with coal for power production. The policy has started showing promising results.
The proposed website of the Mission was reviewed and would be launched shortly with a new logo for SAMARTH, the ministry said.