Punjab to generate 1,000MW by 2015
Excessive amounts of cow manure are proving problematic for cities such as Ludhiana and are a major source of pollution for the region. As a result the state government is looking to collect the methane for use as green power before this waste stream is burned.
Punjab produces significant amounts of agricultural waste that can be used for the generation of power. In addition to livestock waste it also produces 21 million tonnes of rice straw and other biomass crop residues annually.
The Punjab government now plans to generate 10% of its total energy output from renewable sources in five years’ time.
Already in operation near Ludhiana is a 1MW biomethanation plant – a facility dedicated to enhancing the production of methane through the addition of microbes known as methanogens. The facility produces 18,000kWh of electricity from 235 tonnes of cattle manure. It also makes 45 tonnes of organic manure a day which can be used to fertilise the fields.
To date the Punjab Energy Development Agency has commissioned 318MW of renewable energy projects. These include 250MW of biomass co-generation plants, 28MW of biomass power plants, 37MW of small hydro projects and 2MW of solar projects, in addition to the 1MW biomethanation facility in Ludhiana.
However, according to the agency, there are a further 132MW of renewable power developments currently under construction, including 100MW of co-generation, 20MW of standard biomass and 11MW of hydro. This means that by 2012 around 700MW of renewable energy will be generated in the state.
According to the deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, farmers are now earning around RS. 4,000 (€65) per acre per year by selling agro residues to biomass plants.