Bio-mass vital for rural electricfication,needs better policy support : Mr. D RadhaKrishna, Secretary General Indian Bio-Mass
Mr. D. Radhakrishna has hands-on experience of over 27 years in energy sector, including Coal, Oil, Power and Renewable. He has worked for public and private secor before starting his own business of energy consultancy and has hand on experience in supply chain management. He is Engineering, Law and Management graduate from reputed colleges of Madhya Pradesh.
In Power Sector he is working for open access and has been instrumental in moving firs power under open access of many states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Meghalaya, Rajsthan and Maharashtra. He is leading advisor of around 40 companies across the country for Power Market Development on a regular basis.
1. What is the current policy scenario around Biomass? What are the main changes sought by the Biomass developers.
The current policy scenario of Biomass is differentiating with promotional policies of other Renewable like Solar and Wind in a big way .In fact, Bio-Mission is on cards but the implementation is still to take place. Bio Mass energy does not confine only generation of electricity but it can work out as substitute to oil and gas in a big way. The Biomass policy issued by various State Government does not sound to be synchronous and consistent approach. In fact, Biomass Developers want a comprehensive, concrete and implementable policy and we have addressed our grievances to Honourable Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullahji and Planning Commission also for development of biomass policy conducive to the Biomass Development. One of the major changes we are seeking is that Bio Mass prices to be rationale and market driven. Today Bio Mass prices fixed by Commissions are varying from Rs1100 to Rs3000 whereas in actuality prices varying from Rs3000 to Rs5000 depending on demand – supply and seasons . The best course would be to link with Oil equivalent basis as Government is allowing 10,800 K Cal / kg diesel to be sold at Rs50 per litter and Bio Mass Calorific Values are around 3000 Kcal/kg and this money would not go abroad.
2. How important according to you Biomass can be in rural electrification and also for energy self-dependency.
Biomass can help rural electrification in a big-big way and self dependency of energy can be achieved. It is an unfortunate part that most of the rural areas is still miles away from availability of Electricity inspite of Electrification of the rural area, say around 84% as per data, but in reality the rural country does not get power of more than 50% r, which is the lifeline for them . In fact, Biomass based power can play a pivotal role in feeding the electricity to the local areas and also reducing transmission losses as Electricity right now is brought from distant places . I personally feel that models like energy plantation can generate large scale employments and revenue generation in rural areas, where large stretch of land are unused during the off-crop time and there is also un-utilized lands are available.
3. Long term fuel linkage is always a problem for Biomass. What can be done to solve this?
According to me Long Term Fuel Linkage of Coal, Gas and Oil Sector has not helped anywhere . The question is that Government should provide a proper tariff so that Bio Mass Developers can afford to buy Biomass in a competitive environment and rural if they are getting proper price would focus on Bio Mass Plantations also as a remunerative gains of Business. Further,the only Government support we require identification of proper Bio Mass Assessment and Control area .
4. There are many myths around Biomass technology that it will eat all the fodder for animals and its maintenance costs are very high. Will you like to comment on it?
The assessments are carried out after taking care fodder feed and for the Bio Mass not suitable for Fodders like Coconut Shells etc . In fact if Government promotes Bio Mass plantation then Fodders may get additional feed as our experience says some of the grass like Napier Grass would work like a nutrious supplementary food. . We have carried out a study stating that maintenance cost , transportation cost , stacking cost all higher than normal conventional fuel and therefore we are demanding a higher compensation .
5. Indian power sector always lacked collective planning as an expert. What are your views on it?
The irony with Power Sector is that it is in a concurrent list unlike other sector like Telecom, Aviation and Transportation sector which are either completely in hands of Central or State and both state and central should work together but here both are involved in a blame games. With the Power Sector there are number of agencies involved. Earlier to set up a Power plant we required 84 approvals which have limited to 18 but still approvals are time consuming. For instance take position right now power is abundantly available in NEW grid and Southern states are resorting heavy load shedding. Exchange rates say that you can buy power in NEW grid at Rs3.50 and Southern grid it is not available even for Rs15 /- . In fact while planning for Power for All the Uniform grid should have been initiated and should have been in place which now Government plans by 2013 . There are number of plants in Andhra shut down for Gas Availability and number of plants elsewhere has critical coal stocks of less than one day against international norms of 30 days. Similarly coal movement , gas movement and for that matter renewable power policies are non sync and as a consumer we pay higher cost or in spite of paying higher cost not getting power .Secondly the most important thing which Power Sector is likely to miss Human Resources Today we have limited training institutes and this should be taken care as now the shortages of proper power engineers are already felt all across.
6.Can India achieve it target of 15% green energy share by 2020. What are biggest challenges and what are the solutions?
India has already exceeded the target of 10% of green energy and there would be no problem in achieving 15% green energy share by 2020, but like many developed countries, like USA, Germany, Japan, the Nuclear / Fossil fuel power cuts are more than 50% by 2030. Our vision should be to achieve less fossil fuel dependability and less oil imports, which can be dealt only with the augmentation of Renewable Energy which include Bio Mass . We have already a potential of more than 22000 MW in this country and unfortunately only 1100 mw was commissioned . Even in 12th Plan government wants to add only 500 MW . My view is that adding one MW bio mass power would reduced 7000 Mt of coal every year and would save 1 Miilion US Dollar and with addition of around 10,000 MW our dependability of Coal Imports would be totally eliminated. By importing oil the country is losing precious foreign money, but in Biomass major tariff component i.e. 70% will go back to the same villagers and it will improve the socio-economic condition of the villagers and better farming, better educational facilities etc., can be achieved with a consistent approach in augmenting biomass sector