The Ministry of Power mandated that all thermal power plants use a blend of biomass pellets made of agro residue with coal.
Haryana, Punjab and UP are procuring about 13,01,000 tons of biomass pellets for co-firing in their power plants.
The Ministry has already set up the National Mission on the use of Biomass to address the issue of air pollution due to farm stubble-burning.
Union Secretary for Power Alok Kumar took a review meeting on status of biomass co-firing in the thermal power plants.
Earlier, the Ministry of Power (MoP) in November 2017 issued a policy on biomass utilisation for power generation through co-firing in coal-based power plants.
It has been mandated that all thermal power plants use a five per cent blend of biomass pellets made of agro residue with coal with effect from one year of the date of issue of this guideline. According to it, the obligation shall increase to seven per cent with effect from two years after the date of issue of this order.
As a result, NTPC placed an order for 8,65,000 tons of biomass pellets for which supply is already in progress. Further, NTPC placed additional orders for 65,000 tons in October 2021. Another tranche of procurement for 25,00,000 tons is in progress.
Also, Haryana, Punjab and UP are procuring about 13,01,000 tons of biomass pellets for co-firing in their power plants. The orders are to be finalised in November 2021.
The Ministry of Power has already set up the National Mission on the use of Biomass to address the issue of air pollution due to farm stubble-burning and reduce the carbon footprint of thermal power generation.
The Mission is taking steps to develop the biomass supply chain, sensitise stakeholders and encourage budding entrepreneurs. With these efforts, around 1,400 tons of biomass has been fired in October 2021 and a total of 53,000 tons of biomass has been utilised as green fuel in power plants so far.
According to the ministry, farm stubble burning incidences in the most affected six states like Punjab, Haryana, UP, Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have reduced by 58.3 per cent in 2021 till date as compared to the 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 northwestern India, prevent loss of fertility of agricultural land and provide a sustainable income source for farmers.