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Indian Biogas Association Bats For Rs 30,000 Cr Investment For Compressed Biogas Plants

While the Union Budget 2024 made significant progress towards renewable energy, some significant obstacles remain

The Indian Biogas Association has proposed a significant investment of Rs 30,000 crore to procure machinery and equipment essential for biomass supply to compressed biogas plants, aiming to slash LNG imports by 12 MMTA. Gaurav Kedia, Chairman of the Indian Biogas Association, highlighted the dual benefits of utilising agricultural residues like paddy straw for bioenergy production and soil enrichment. He underscored the hurdles in procurement, citing unattractive economics leading farmers to prefer burning straw over selling it promptly due to challenges in collection, storage and transportation costs attributed to its low density.

Kedia emphasised the necessity of government intervention, advocating for subsidies on combined harvesters and additional support for balers and storage units to enhance transportation and storage efficiency. He urged the release of operational guidelines for crop residue management, financial assistance for procurement of machinery, the establishment of custom hiring centres, and the creation of a supply chain and promotion of awareness on crop residue management.

According to the ASCI study on biomass potential in India, the surplus biomass, mainly burnt due to inadequate collection equipment and motivation among farmers, amounts to 230 million tonnes of agricultural residue out of the total 754 million tonnes generated. Kedia proposed prioritising states with the largest biomass generation share, such as Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, requiring an estimated investment exceeding Rs 30,000 crore to address the issue.

This investment is crucial for ensuring a steady substrate supply for CBG plants, attracting an investment of Rs 170 thousand crore and significantly contributing to the economy while saving nearly 12 MMTA of LNG imports. Despite the progress made in renewable energy in the Union Budget 2024, Kedia highlighted persistent obstacles and called for long-term financing options and additional incentives to bolster domestic production and reduce import reliance. He stressed the need for a programme akin to SATAT for biofertilisers and advocated for the introduction of tradable CBG certificates to recognise the green component of CBG. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s interim budget revelation aims to support the transition towards energy security and environmental sustainability, aligning with the goals of the Panchamrit initiative.

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