Power producers will soon have to pay a penalty for defaulting on the biomass co-firing mandate at thermal power plants, Alok Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Power, said on March 24. He added that the government is working on setting benchmark pricing for biomass to ensure better rates to pellet manufacturers and farmers.
Speaking at a day-long conference to review India’s National Mission on use of Biomass in Thermal Power Plants (SAMARTH) organised by the Power Ministry, Kumar also said the government is mulling over creating an intermediary government company to facilitate the procurement of biomass and develop a supply chain for the biomass pellet sector.
"I urge those in the biomass pellet industry not to lose hope. This is going to be a long battle, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Lot of work needs to be done as the competition here is with coal, which has a long history of growth and a well-established strong supply chain. But, we will get there soon, as the government is ready to tweak policies if needed," said Kumar while talking to pellet manufacturers.
The Power Secretary said that state regulatory bodies, state generation companies, and IPPs (independent power producers) should also promote the use of biomass pellets. "Despite multiple advantages, there is an inertia on part of these bodies to push for greater use of biomass pellets. The ministry will soon write to state regulatory bodies in this regard," Kumar said.
Launching the event, Krishan Pal Gurjar, Minister of State for Power and Heavy Industries said the government is making serious efforts to promote the biomass pellet manufacturing sector. "So far, about one lakh MT of biomass has been co-fired at more than 41 thermal power stations, which is expected to increase further," he said.
The Ministry of Power also set up the national mission on use of biomass in coal based thermal power plants on May 25, 2021. It was created to address the issue of air pollution from stubble burning in farms and reduce the carbon footprint generated by thermal power plants which work on coal.