The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set up a working group to review issues that are troubling biomass power producers in India.
India produces around 500 million tonnes of biomass which is sufficient to generate 18,000 MW. However, the total installed capacity is at 1,264 MW only. Besides, a number of biomass power plants have been shut as it is not viable to run them.15000 MW additional power can also be generated through bagasse based cogeneration in the country’s 550 Sugar mills. 1
Numerous incentives such as tax holiday for ten years, concessional import duty, excise duty exemption etc are available for biomass projects.
However, the sector is plagued by absence of technical capacity, absence of effective information dissemination and very few successful commercial model projects.
Biomass is a very important energy source in rural areas and is still the main source of energy driving millions of households in India. Biomass sources are diverse such as agricultural crop residues (stalks, Straw, Cane thrashes, spoiled grains, pulses, fruits, nuts, spices etc), Bamboo, Prosopis, Casuarinas, plant debris (Leaves, stubbles, barks and trunks) and livestock wastes.
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Image Credit – P.K. Niyogi, Wikipedia