Varied interests in the energy and power sector viz., CDM, carbon rating, Monitoring & Evaluation, Energy Management, Rural Development; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy related matters; Demand Side Management (DSM), Energy Audits, Distributed Power Generation (Biomass, Wind,Solar and Small Hydro), Participatory Management.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Rs 800 cr biomass power plants lined up in TN

Rs 800 cr biomass power plants lined up in TN
TE Narasimhan / Chennai November 09, 2009, 0:45 IST

With the state announcing sops for biomass-based power plants, projects worth Rs 800 crore have been lined up in Tamil Nadu.

"For the last 18 months, not even one project had come to the state. But, after the tariff for biomass power procurement was increased to Rs 4.50 per unit from Rs 3.15 by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission, the state has started attracting investments," said PR Muralidharan, deputy general manager (bio-mass), Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (Teda). This apart, biomass-based power units have been allowed to sell their produce to third parties.

Tamil Nadu has the potential to produce 500 mega watt (Mw) of power through biomass, of which production of around 200 Mw has already commenced. Teda has received 10 proposals, said R Christodas Gandhi, principal secretary and chairman and managing director of Teda.

Gandhi was speaking to Business Standard on the sidelines of the Renewable Energy Chennai 2009 conference held in Chennai recently.

Currently, 12 plants with a capacity of 110 Mw are operating in the state. These include one in Kanchipuram, two each in Sivakasi and Pudukottai, and one each in Tiruvanamallai, Dindigual, Theni, Thanjavur, Madurai, Virudunagar and Thiruvallur districts.

While two projects with a total capacity of 17.5 Mw are nearing completion at Tiruvanamalai and Krishnagiri, four projects with 40 Mw are under way in public-private partnership. Nine projects with a capacity of 99 Mw have got the recommendation of Teda and are yet to approach the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. "In all, around 156 Mw of projects are likely to come up in the state, entailing an investment of Rs 5 crore per Mw," he added.

Stating that Tamil Nadu had become one of the model states when it comes to bio-mass usage for captive purposes, Gandhi said, "Producers of tea and dal and other farmers are using biomass-based captive power for their irrigation purposes. This had led to 100 per cent liberalisation from the power grids."

According to industry representatives, a 10 Mw-biomass power plant can support around 2,000 marginalised families. They can be employed in collection, transportation, cutting and chipping of biomass, and cultivation of wasteland with energy plants like juliflora.

Of the country's total installed biomass power capacity of 683 Mw, Tamil Nadu accounts for 147 Mw. However, over the last two years, capacity utilisation had declined sharply due to a steep increase in the cost of biomass fuels, a recent TNEB release said.

"The capacity utilisation, which ranged from 5 per cent to 70 per cent during 2007-08, declined to 3 per cent to 48 per cent during 2008-09. Other users of biomass fuel have been procuring biofuels at a much higher price, making it unviable for biomass-based power plants. This deficiency has been addressed by fixing the fuel cost at double the present rate of around Rs 2,000 per tonne."

Biomass energy is derived from plant and animal material such as wood from forests, residues from agricultural and forestry processes, and industrial, human or animal wastes.
Gopinath S
Chief Executive
nRG Consulting Services, Bangalore
+91 99161 29728


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