Roundtable on Bioenergy- Issues and Options

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The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCC&I), prescription Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM), information pills the World Bioenergy Association (WBA) in association with EBTC organised a the roundtable on 26th November 2014 in Kolkata.

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The event brought together different stakeholder groups in bioenergy to highlight problems and barriers faced by the sector as well as policy measures needed to remove these and stimulate bioenergy development.

Stakeholders included state government departments; educational institutions; industrial organisations; private companies, international and national Industry associations, etc. The event was attended by Dr. Heinz Kopetz, President World Bioenergy Association (WBA) and Ms. Karin Hara, Executive Director, World Bioenergy Association.

A large part of India’s population uses biomass as primary sources of energy and hence, there is considerable opportunity of the in the sector for business.

In the bioenergy sector, raw material is freely available, moreover it is environment friendly and clean. The local industry has much to be gained from technology transfer and adaptation. It is an economical choice for an emerging market like India.

Opportunities are present in diverse sectors such as R&D; agriculture (biomass cultivation and processing); transport services; bioenergy production, manufacturing of core equipments and EPC.

Having said that, there are a few challenges to be overcome

Some challenges include a higher cost of finance; inadequate government policies; increasing capital and O&M costs, lack of capital subsidy, and so on.

The price of biomass increases very rapidly and therefore there should be an annual revision of government tariff policy. The cost of fuel is not adjusted with the tariff which can adversely affect projects. Lack of mechanisation and the defragmented nature of agricultural lands which does not allow high mechanisation results in reduction of efficiency and increase in procurement cost. The single biggest reason for lack of investment in the biopower sector in states with high biomass potential is proper government policy, and there is also an absence of national level policy. Transportation cost is also a significant challenge for running of biomass power plants.

The importance of collaboration and finding the right business model

Mr. Suman Lahiri (Regional Director, EBTC Kolkata) discussed demonstrations such as slurry-to-biogas and the biogas enrichment project of IVL Sweden,as well as the MSW cleantech mission by EBTC and IVL Sweden in Leh and Kargil.

Biogas based energy plays an important role in rural electrification provided the right business model is in place. He recommended the need of developing a virtual cluster of stakeholders to create rich linkages within multiple stakeholders and proper documentation of projects at different levels and access to such documents for knowledge about the implantation issues across India.

Ms. Ananya Roy (Communications Executive, EBTC) and Mr. Som Sekhar Ganguly (Business Development Executive) were also present and they engaged with a cross section of the workshop to tap technological requirements of the Indian ecosystem.

Contact: Mr. Suman Lahiri (Regional Director, EBTC)

Additional information