Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Big Biomass Initiatives In Haryana

Over the last two months, Haryana has been in the thick of action on renewable energy in India.

686 MW Power From Biomass

In Feb, Haryana signed MoUs with 7 independent power producers (IPPs) to set up 21 biomass-based power stations that would generate a total of 686 MW of power at a total set-up cost of $745 mn.

One of the IPPs
is a consortium of Gammon Infrastructure Projects Pvt Ltd and Barmaco Energy Systems Ltd which will generate a total of 154 MW of power. The plants would be set up in 8 different locations to ensure proximity with the sources. The plants would use inputs like rice husk, wheat husk and sugarcane straw which would be bought from local farmers presumably within a radius of 15-20 kms around the plant. This, in my opinion, would not just contribute to the local economy but also reduce the need for middlemen between the farmers and the power producers.

Govt Policy

At a recent business meet for, "Promotion of Biomass Gasifiers for Thermal and Electrical Applications", the Haryana Ministry of New and Renewable Energy highlighted its 35-point program of subsidies and fiscal incentives for promoting biomass gasification.

Haryana's Dept of Renewable Energy (HAREDA) has identified a potential of 1400 MW from biomass and this looks like a strong initiative towards reaching that potential. Still it makes a tiny fraction of the 40,000 MW Haryana needs/expects to ramp up over the next 3 years.

High-level Initiatives

Haryana also signed two more significant MoU's last month. The first was signed between GE and the Haryana Technological Park at the India launch of GE's Ecomagination, and is for the launch of a green building project in the state. This was followed up with an MoU with the state of Maryland, US. This agreement had the explicit objective of improving trade in clean and renewable energy sources, but was pretty wide-ranging otherwise.

Village-level Initiatives

At the village level Haryana increased the money in awards for panchayats that promote new and renewable energy sources by 50%. The awards would be given to panchayats that achieve maximum new solar power for unelectrified houses, maximum installation of biogas plants by houses that had potential, maximum usage of energy efficient chullahs (stoves) and bulbs, maximum adoption of solar cookers and maximum number of solar energy conservation devices.

Related link: Biopact has an excellent post on Haryana's biomass initiatives.