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Opinion

The UP’s new biofuel policy to reduce pollution due to stubble burning

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The Uttar Pradesh government is ready with a new biofuel policy which is seen as a significant step in effectively tackling the environmental crisis arising from the burning of stubble by farmers in the state.

The proposed policy seeks to promote and incentivize the installation of power generation plants based on rice straws and also obliges state thermal power plants to use agricultural residues as a raw material with coal to power the power plants.

“The draft policy titled Uttar Pradesh Biofuel Policy-2020 is ready and will soon be presented to cabinet for approval before the final policy is implemented to effectively manage crop residues / stubble, among other things. , in the state, “said a senior official in charge of the issue.

According to the draft policy accessed by the Hindustan Times, the state government will provide various incentives to private developers to set up 100mw rice straw biomass power plants each through competitive tenders in the first phase and, according to experience, 300 mw plants can be installed in the next phase.

To ensure the developers a remunerative return on their investment, it will be mandatory for UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) to enter into long-term power purchase agreements with them to purchase power from said plants for 20 years at the rate to be set by the Regulatory Commission. of Electricity of the UP (UPERC).

The state government will provide an annual grant of more than Rs 250 million to the UPPCL to purchase energy that could be slightly more expensive than it obtains from other sources.

“Installing such power plants will prevent farmers from burning 10 million tonnes (MT) of rice straw each year in their fields,” the draft policy states. It is estimated that around 16 MT of rice straw are produced in the state, of which 4 MT are used by the farmers themselves while 12 MT of rice straw is burned in the fields.

Another important feature of the proposed policy is that it seeks to make it mandatory for UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (Uprvunl) to use agricultural residues in the form of pellets as feedstock along with coal in its power plants to generate electricity.

The NTPC, according to sources, is already using agricultural waste along with coal to power its thermal plants in various places around the country after it found that the experiment at the Dadri thermal plant was successful. The National Green Court (NGT) had raised the idea three years ago.

Under the new policy, local urban entities will make solid waste available to biomass power plants at their facilities free of charge.

Hindustan Times

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