State-owned power giant NTPC has placed an order of 9,30,000 tonnes of biomass pellets for co-firing in power plants that will help improve air quality, said the power ministry. Besides, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are procuring 13,01,000 tonnes of biomass pellets for co-firing in their power plants, the power ministry said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Power Secretary Alok Kumar had taken review meeting on the status of biomass co-firing in the thermal power plants on October 28.
The meeting was attended by Central Electricity Authority, NTPC CMD, representatives from Punjab, Haryana and UP, mission director of the National Bio Mission, and senior officials of the power ministry.
It emerged in the meeting that as a result of various actions taken by the power ministry, initiatives for procurement of biomass have been taken up by NTPC and different states, it stated.
NTPC placed an order for 8,65,000 tonnes of biomass pellets, for which supply is already in progress.
Further, NTPC has placed an additional order of 65,000 tonnes in October 2021.
Another tranche of procurement by NTPC for 25 lakh tonnes is in progress, for which the vendors are invited to submit the offer by November 1, it stated.
The ministry stated that Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are together procuring about 13,01,000 tonnes of biomass pellets for co-firing in their power plants.
The orders are expected to be finalised in November 2021, it added.
In this context earlier, the Ministry of Power on November 17, 2017, issued a policy on biomass utilisation for power generation through co-firing in coal-based power plants.
In this earlier policy, it was advised that coal-based thermal power plants, except those having a ball tube mill, endeavour to use a 5-10 per cent blend of biomass pellets made primarily of agro residue along with coal after assessing the technical feasibility, such as safety aspect.
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 October 8, 2021.
This modified policy will provide the necessary direction in achieving the desired goals, it said.
The Revised Policy for Biomass Utilisation for Power Generation through co-firing in coal-based power plants provides that 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).
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 the change in law provisions, it said.
Such additional impact on ECR shall not be considered in deciding merit order despatch (MOD) of the power plant.
Obligated entities, such as discoms, can meet their renewable purchase obligations (RPO) by buying such generation of co-firing, it added.
The Ministry of Power has already set up 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.
The mission is fully functional and taking various steps to encourage and support the biomass co-firing in the thermal power plants.
The mission is taking steps for the development of the biomass supply chain, sensitising stakeholders and encouraging budding entrepreneurs. Recently, two training and awareness programmes were organised at Faridabad, Haryana and Nangal, Ropar, this month.
Both programmes witnessed active participation by the farmers in the region wherein they were sensitised on the 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 thermal power plants.
More such training programmes are planned in the near future. Further, large-scale advertising and media campaigns are also being done regarding the benefit of eco-friendly utilisation of biomass in thermal power plants, it added.
As a result of these efforts, around 1,400 tonnes of biomass have been fired in October 2021, and a total of 53,000 tonnes of biomass has been utilised as green fuel in power plants so far.
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 of 2020, it added.
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