Agro-Residue for Power: Win-win for farmers and the environment?
Crop stubble burning is a major source of pollution in Northwest India. It will require significant and continuous investment to end the practice. On the other hand, despite the growth in ‘renewables’, India’s reliance on coal to meet its base power load demand will continue in the foreseeable future. At a time when the world is moving away from coal power, is it prudent for India to replace old coal power plants with new ones? It is clear that standalone solutions to these two problems (stubble burning and use of coal to generate power) will burn a hole in the exchequer’s pocket. Even then, returns on investment cannot be guaranteed. But what if we were to see the broader picture and make one problem the solution to the other problem? This report explores the possibility, impact and benefits of operating older coal power plants at higher biomass co-firing ratios.