MNRE Adds Municipal Solid Waste-Based Projects in Waste to Energy Program Guidelines

The government has approved a grant of ₹4.8 billion for providing CFA


The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) recently issued revised guidelines for its waste to energy program.

The new guidelines will supersede the existing guidelines of Waste to Energy Program, which was issued on July 30, 2018. One new addition to the guidelines is the inclusion of municipal solid waste (MSW)-based projects, based on the clarification by the Department of Expenditure.

In August 2018, Mercom reported that the total CFA of ₹780 million (~$11.37 million) was slated to be released for biogas, bio-CNG, enriched biogas power, and biomass gasifier projects under the program from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

The government has now approved a grant of ₹4.8 billion (~$65.43 million) as the central financial assistance (CFA) and has set a target of 257 MW for the remaining period of 2019-20.

Out of the total amount, a sum of ₹4 billion (~$55 million) has been set aside for the municipal solid waste-based projects with a target of 200 MW.

The objective of the program is to set up projects for biogas or bio-CNG, or power from urban, industrial and agricultural waste and captive power and thermal use through gasification in industries; to promote setting up of projects for the recovery of energy from municipal solid wastes for feeding power into the grid and for meeting captive power, thermal and vehicular fuel requirements.

The guidelines have also been revised to promote biomass gasifiers for feeding power into the grid or to meet the captive and thermal needs of rice mills and other industries and villages.

Those projects which are based on bio-methanation of any biodegradable waste will be eligible for the central financial assistance. The CFA will be provided in the form of capital subsidy and grants-in-aid.

Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for Different Categories of Waste to Energy & Biomass Gasifier Projects

However, the ministry has clearly stated that the biogas generation projects which are based on distillery effluents and projects based on wastes from fossil fuels and waste heat (flue gases), will not be eligible for the CFA.

For combustion-based projects, mixing other waste of renewable nature may be permitted. Mixing fossil fuels will not be allowed in any case, the guidelines noted.

The projects based on biomethanation of municipal solid waste can be taken up only on segregated or uniform biodegradable waste.

Under the municipal solid waste category, power generation projects based on incineration, gasification, pyrolysis or a combination of any new technology will be eligible for the assistance.

According to the new guidelines, the mixing of any waste of renewable nature or biomass may be to the extent of 25% of the total waste used or as per the regulations issued by the state electricity regulatory commissions (SERC) or Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).

Central Financial Assistance (CFA) - for Different Categories of Waste to Energy & Biomass Gasifier Projects

The ministry states that there will be no cap on the capacity of waste to energy projects supported under the program, whereas biogas projects based on agro-based industrial residues of up to 250 kW capacity for power generation and up to 2500 m3 capacity will not be eligible under this program. However, biomass gasifier projects of any capacity will be eligible for the CFA.

As per the new guidelines, projects for generation of power from biogas will be based either on 100% biogas engines or gas or steam turbines with a minimum steam pressure of 42 bar.

Regarding the expansion of the projects, only the enhanced capacity added to the existing projects will be considered for the grant of CFA.

In December 2019, the Union Power Minister R.K.Singh told Parliament that to recover energy from waste and effluent generated from industries, India has set up 186 waste-to-energy projects for the generation of biogas, bio CNG with a cumulative capacity of 317.03 MW. Out of the 186 projects, five projects are based on municipality solid waste, thus generating a total capacity of 66.5 MW of energy.

Image credit: Korina T. / CC BY-SA

Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.