InfraCo Asia, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has announced the signing of a Joint Investment and Development Agreement (JIDA) with Real Energy & Infrastructure Private Limited (REIL) for the development of a 12 MW biomass based power plant in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India. This will be InfraCo Asia’s first biomass project in India.
As part of a policy to encourage the development of biomass-based power projects, the Madhya Pradesh State Government will allocate 750 acres of leased land for the energy plantation for the Jabalpur Biomass Power Plant. 250 acres of this land have already been allocated to REIL. The Project implementation will be managed by Equicap Asia, InfraCo Asia’s contracted Developer Team for South Asia, and REIL.
As a commercial-scale producer of forestry biomass that relies on surplus agricultural residue collection, the power plant will be a ‘first-of-its-kind’ biomass power project development in India. It will include a dedicated, sustainable energy plantation, with agricultural biomass sourced from local farmers through modern, mechanised methods and practices. It is hoped that successful implementation of the Jabalpur Biomass Power Plant will lead to a ‘demonstration effect’ that opens new pathways to more private sector investment in fuel-assured biomass power plants in India. Additionally, such projects can serve as an alternative for disposing of post-harvest agricultural waste residue, which is typically burned, but can instead be used as a source of biomass fuel.
Once in operation, the plant will tap into the vast potential for biomass power plant development in both Madhya Pradesh and India as a whole. Current total installed biomass capacity in Madhya Pradesh is 43MW, but the state has the potential to generate in excess of 3.1GW of power from biomass fuel. At the national level, India has set a target of 175GW in new renewable capacity by 2022, including a contribution of 10GW from biomass based power generation. The country’s estimated biomass potential stands at 18GW, when agricultural residues – like the kind that will be used as a source of fuel for the Jabalpur Biomass Power Plant – are taken into account.
InfraCo Asia, CEO, Allard Nooy said, “By investing in the Jabalpur Biomass Power Plant, InfraCo Asia aims to serve as a catalyst for future biomass power development in India. We believe there is significant potential for greater private sector investment in this space, and InfraCo Asia’s involvement in the project is aimed at helping to demonstrate this opportunity for private sector investors. In partnership with REIL, we look forward to bringing to life a biomass power plant that will set new standards for both securing raw materials and providing sustainable investment for a significant market opportunity.”
REIL Shareholder Partner, Ashish Ahuja said, “The Jabalpur Biomass Power Plant will be the first project in Madhya Pradesh under the 2012 biomass policy, which incentivises captive sourcing of forestry biomass. We will employ innovative, modern forestry biomass cultivation practices to produce biomass fuel. We also propose to invest in modern post-harvest practices to handle agricultural waste from participating farms. In doing so, we will not only prevent field burning of agricultural waste residue, but also help reduce pollution caused by such burning. From a social and community impact perspective, contributing fuel to the Jabalpur Biomass Power Plant will help train farmers in new collection practices and spur entrepreneurship in the area surrounding the project site. Through REIL’s involvement, we aim to set new benchmarks in biomass power development.”