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Co-firing with biomass at Edenderry Power Station

Exemption of Biomass Power Plants of capacity less than 15 MW from the need of taking Environment Clearance

Rajasthan (2015)

Biomass Resource Assessment for Haryana state

Vol 9, Issue 4- February 2016

Decentralized Application of Biomass Gasifier for thermal energy demand

Issue 6- Oct-Dec 2015

Biomass resource availability in Kerala

A Model of Fuel Supply Linkages at SLS Power, Nellore

Issue 5- July-Sept 2015

Vol 9, Issue 3- December 2015

Biomass Supply Management Using ERP Platform

Electricity Generation using Pine Needles in Uttarakhand

Amendments in the Tariff Policy

CERC approved modified procedure for implementation of REC Mechanism w.e.f. 05.11.2015

Rajasthan biomass fuel supply study 2015

Ensuring sustainable biomass supply at Malwa Biomass Power Project

Agro residue resource availability in Andaman & Nicobar

Cane trash as an alternate fuel resource for biomass cogeneration plant

Rescheduling of 2nd Renewable Energy Global Investors’ Meet & Expo (RE-INVEST) to 14 - 16 March, 2017

Biomass gasification based combined heat and power plant at Güssing, Austria

Maharashtra policy for grid connected power projects based on new and renewable energy sources – 2015

Biomass agro-residue resource availability in Tamil Nadu

Biomass agro-residue resource availability in Karnataka

Engine manufacturers for Producer Gas

Andhra Pradesh biomass resource study  

Uttarakhand biomass resource study  

CSP-Biomass hybrid plant In Spain - a case study  

Summary of Policies and Tariff for Promotion of Grid Connected Biomass Power Projects  

Tax Free Infrastructure Bonds for renewable energy
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Overview of biomass power sector in India

Biomass has always been an important energy source for the country considering the benefits and promises it offers. It is a carbon neutral fuel source for the generation of electricity; and apart from providing the much needed relief from power shortages, biomass power projects could generate employment in rural areas.

About 32% of the total primary energy use in the country is derived from biomass and more than 70% of the country’s population depends upon it for their energy needs. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India has realized the potential and role of biomass energy in the Indian context and has initiated a number of programmes for the promotion of efficient biomass conversion technologies to be used in various sectors of the economy.

Programme/scheme wise physical progress


Achievements (capacity in MW)   
(as on 31.03.2016)  

I. Grid Interactive Power (Capacities in MW)

Biomass Power (Combustion, Gasification and Bagasse Cogeneration)


Waste to Power


Sub-total Grid Interactive


II. Off-Grid / Captive Power (Capacities in MWe)

Biomass (non bagasse) Cogeneration


Biomass Gasifiers

·    Rural
·    Industrial



Waste to Energy


Sub-total Off-Grid


Total Biomass Based Power


India has over 5,940 MW biomass based power plants comprising 4,946 MW grid connected and 994 MW off-grid power plants. Out of the total grid connected capacity, major share comes from bagasse cogeneration and around 115 MW is from waste to energy power plants. Whereas off-grid capacity comprises 652 MW non bagasse cogeneration, mainly as captive power plants, about 18 MW biomass gasifier systems being used for meeting electricity needs in rural areas, and 164 MW equivalent biomass gasifier systems deployed for thermal applications in industries.

State wise cumulative achievement of biomass power and cogeneration projects is as follows:

State wise biomass power and cogeneration projects


Capacity (MW)  

Andhra Pradesh*












Madhya Pradesh 










Tamil Nadu




Uttar Pradesh


West Bengal 




*Capacity includes projects of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
Source: MNRE Annual Report 2015-16

Considering the present status of biomass based power generation and thermal applications, it is expected that only about 30-35 million tonnes of surplus biomass is being used annually for the existing and ongoing biomass projects. According to the Biomass Resource Atlas (2002-04) prepared by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, more than 300 districts in India have biomass potential between 10-100 MW.

Major Barriers and Challenges

Unlike solar and wind, biomass is relatively a much reliable source of renewable energy free of fluctuation and does not need storage as is the case with solar. But it is not the preferred renewable energy source till now, mainly due to the challenges involved in ensuring reliable biomass supply chain. This is because of the wide range in its physical properties and fluctuation in availability round the year depending on cropping patterns. Biomass from agriculture is available only for a short period after its harvesting, which can stretch only for 2-3 months in a year. So there is a need to have robust institutional and market mechanism for efficient procurement of the required quantity of biomass, within this stipulated short time, and safe storage till it is finally used.

Some of the major barriers faced in faster realization of available biomass power potential for a variety of end use applications are (i) inadequate information on biomass availability, (ii) absence of organized formal biomass markets, (iii) problems associated with management of biomass collection, transportation, processing and storage; problems associated with setting up large size biomass plants, (iv) non-availability of cost effective sub megawatt systems for conversion of biomass to energy in a decentralized manner, and (v) lack of capability to generate bankable projects on account of financial and liquidity problems, etc.

The major challenge in ensuring sustained biomass supply at reasonable prices are: Increasing competing usage of biomass resources, leading to higher opportunity costs; unorganized nature of biomass market, which is characterized by lack of mechanization in agriculture sector, defragmented land holdings, and vast number of small or marginal farmers. Another major challenge is the cost of biomass storage and transportation to power plants, which is consistently rising rapidly with time.

There is the need to evolve a robust organized biomass market through innovative business models, motivating rural entrepreneurs to take up the responsibility of supplying biomass to processing facilities. There is also the need to develop and exploit energy plantations to take up energy crops on marginal and degraded land, as a substitute for crop wastes.

Some of the Indian states leading the pack in establishing biomass based power supply are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Chhattisgarh. Ironically, many states with agriculture based economy, despite good biomass power potential, have not properly been able to utilize the opportunity and figure low in biomass power achievements. Only Uttar Pradesh in north India has utilized large part of the biomass potential, which can be attributed to its sugarcane industry, with cogeneration power plants. There is also wide variation in tariff being offered for biomass power plants in different states. Government policy can play a big role in enhancing the viability of biomass power plants and in supporting investment growth in the biomass power sector in states with high biomass power potential.

The Biomass Knowledge Portal has been developed under the UNDP-GEF supported project "Removal of Barriers to Biomass Power Generation in India" implemented by MNRE
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Last updated on: May 20, 2016