PSPCL advances green energy initiatives with recommissioning of Jalkheri biomass plant

  • | Tuesday | 25th June, 2024

In a significant move towards sustainable energy and environmental conservation, Punjabs Power Minister Harbhajan Singh ETO on Monday announced the successful recommissioning of 10 megawatt (MW) biomass power plant in Jalkheri village, Fatehgarh Sahib district. This initiative marked a major stride in Punjab State Power Corporation Limiteds (PSPCL) efforts to harness green energy and combat the environmental challenges posed by stubble burning.   The Jalkheri biomass power plant, originally commissioned in June 1992, operated until July 1995 before being leased to M/s Jalkheri Power Plant Limited (JPPL) in July 2001. It resumed operations in July 2002 and continued until September 2007. In 2012 and 2018, attempts were made to restart the project, culminating in a re-tendering process that led to the plant being leased on a Renovate-Operate-Transfer (ROT) basis.   On June 21, 2024, the revamped plant officially commenced operations, featuring cutting-edge Denmark Technology boilers designed to generate electricity using 100 percent paddy straw. This recommissioning comes after about 15 years of dormancy, signaling a new era for the Jalkheri Power Generation Plant.   The recommissioned biomass plant is set to consume approximately one lakh tons of paddy straw annually, which will help alleviate the widespread problem of stubble burning in nearly 50,000 acres across Punjab. This initiative not only addresses air pollution but also contributes to sustainable energy by reducing reliance on fossil fuels.   Furthermore, the project is expected to generate direct and indirect employment for 400-500 individuals, thus fostering economic growth in the region. The term of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for this plant spans 20 years, starting from June 21, 2024, after which the facility will be transferred back to PSPCL.   In the recent tendering process, the final quoted tariff was Rs 5.84 per kWh after reverse bidding, which was further reduced by Rs 0.07 per kWh, resulting in a savings of Rs 10 crores over the lease period. The lease agreement and PPA with M/s SAEL, signed in 2019, stipulate that PSPCL will purchase all power generated from this plant at a negotiated tariff of Rs 5.77 per unit. This includes a fixed cost component of Rs 2.27 per kWh, which will remain constant throughout the lease period, and a variable cost component of Rs 3.50 per kWh, subject to an annual escalation of five percent.   Minister Harbhajan Singh ETO highlighted the multifaceted benefits of the project, stating, This initiative not only increases our green energy capacity and provides employment but also offers a solution to the persistent problem of stubble burning. It aligns perfectly with our governments commitment to energy security, environmental protection, and economic growth.   The recommissioned Jalkheri Biomass Power Plant is poised to play a crucial role in Punjabs energy landscape, showcasing the states dedication to green energy and sustainable development. By leveraging the abundant paddy straw and mitigating pollution, this project exemplifies the integration of environmental responsibility with economic advancement.

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