Waste-to-energy plant

Last week, there was an announcement that the construction work of India’s largest Waste-to-energy (WTE) plant that will come up on the Gurugram-Faridabad road is expected to be completed in two years’ time.

Presently, in India, there are 12 number of waste-to-energy plants based on established technologies with electricity generation capacity of 164.14 MW from municipal solid waste (MSW) are running, according to the latest information divulged in Rajya Sabha. As per data available with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), eight waste-to-energy plants based on MSW initiated during early stage of adoption of waste-to-energy technologies stopped functioning primarily due to irregular supply of requisite quality and quantity of feedstock, improper operation and maintenance on regular basis, non-viability of tariff and chosen technology not suited for Indian environment conditions, it said.

MNRE’s Waste to Energy Programme prevailing at the time of implementation of the projects provided for a CFA of Rs 2-3 crore per MW.

A study was undertaken by GEF-UNIDO in consultation with MNRE to access the potential of energy generation from Industrial and urban organic waste in India. As per the study report, the total estimated electricity generation potential through combustion of municipal solid waste in India is approximately 1250 MW. Tariff of power from projects based on municipal solid waste which are recently commissioned/under installation is observed in the range of Rs 6.2 to 7.07 per unit. Long ago, on October 23rd 2017, the then Jammu & Kashmir cabinet gave a nod for setting up of a waste-to-energy plant, under the public private partnership (PPP), at Achan Saidapora landfill site and it was supposed to generate 5 megawatt of electricity on a daily basis from five metric tons of solid waste.

Almost five years ago, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed an order directing the government to ensure compliance to the cabinet order.

The concerned authorities should take a call on establishing, or other alternatives, regarding the waste-to-energy plant.

There is also need to ensure rules regarding the segregation of the waste. According to Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, segregation of waste at source is critical. The rules provide that the local bodies should ensure segregation of waste at source by the generators as prescribed in these rules, facilitate collection of segregated waste in separate streams, handover recyclable material to either to the authorized waste pickers or the authorized recyclers. The bio-degradable waste shall be processed, treated and disposed of through composting or bio-methanation within the premises as far as possible.

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