After promoting alcohol blending in petrol, India is now gearing up to ensure 5 % blending of biomass in coal-fired thermal plants so as to prevent stubble burning and give additional income to farmers by purchasing biomass pellets from the farmers.
This year NTPC has already initiated the process to procure 35.3 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of biomass pellets, out of which supply of 8.65LMT is already in progress, another .65 LMT would reach NTPC soon. Another procurement of 25 LMT is in progress for which the vendors are invited to submit an offer by November 1, said a senior officer of the Power Ministry.
Three states, Haryana, Punjab and UP where paddy residue burning is common, alone have supplied about 13.01 LMT of biomass pellets for co-firing in Thermal Power plants, the Ministry said.
The Union Power Secretary Alok Kumar recently reviewed the status of biomass in the thermal power plants and interacted with the top brass of the National Bio Mission of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh and told them to speed up the supply of biomass pellets to coal-fired Thermal power plants. The Power Ministry had set up a National Mission on the 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.
He said the government has also modified its policies in order to further support the energy transition in the country and to achieve the target of cleaner energy sources. The modified policy would provide the necessary direction in achieving the desired goals and mandatory 5 % bio-mass blend in thermal power plants and it should subsequently increase to 7 % in the coming two years.
The government has further directed Thermal Power plants that the minimum contract period for procurement of biomass pellets by generating utilities should be for 7 years so as to avoid delay in awarding contracts by generating companies every year. This would also help companies supplying biomass pellets to build up a long term supply chain.