Energy from Biomass use at coal fired stations in India just overcame a small hurdle of measurement, with a CERC order laying down the formula to do it.
In an important development for power producers generating power using biomass, the CERC (Central Electricity Regulatory Commission) took suo motu cognizance, and issued its guidelines for estimation of power generation using biomass at coal fired plants. This became relevant after directives from the CEA to thermal plants to use more Biomass , besides the clarification of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), on 26.9.2019 that placed the power generated from co-firing of biomass in coal based thermal
power plants as renewable energy . The letter also made power from biomass eligible for meeting non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).
The commission also took note of the request by the Captive Power Producers Association to make any proposed methodology applicable to captive power plants too.
NTPC Ltd’s representative had submitted that in the proposed methodology, electricity generated from biomass has been proposed to be estimated based on electricity generated at the Generator Terminal (GT). This might create issues as the energy meter installed at Generator Terminal is normally not used for billing purpose and hence, estimates based on Generator Terminal may not be acceptable to distribution licensees.
Details of the order, including the proposed formula to calculate energy generation using biomass are available at the CERC site here.
Total power capacity from Biomass, as per MNRE reports submitted every month to the Indian cabinet, is currently at around 10 Plus GW. That is n line with the target of 10 GW that was originally laid down from renewables, out of a total of 175GW by 2022. However, in recent years, intense air pollution caused by, among other things, stubble burning of crops by farmers, has driven the government to look at increasing consumption of biomass for power production to ensure better control over air pollution.