Bioenergy & Hydropower in India

Biomass in India: What Goes Around Comes Around

Bioenergy is produced using biomass or organic matter. The biomass energy potential in India is enormous. Traditionally, it has always been an important energy source. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), nearly 32 per cent of the total primary energy use in the country is derived from biomass and more than 70 per cent of the population depends on it, especially in rural areas. Prime Minister Modi has set a target to increase India’s biomass capacity from 4.4GW to 10GW by 2022.

Did you know that energy created from biomass is mostly carbon neutral, meaning 2016-01-page-10-image-1that the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere while the waste is being burnt is the same as the amount of CO2 the plants absorb while they grow!


Biomass SourcesThe process of using organic waste that would otherwise be dumped in landfills or openly burned to generate electricity and heat is called biomass energy. Biomass in solid, liquid and gaseous form is not only used for electricity and heat generation, but also for the production of biofuels (transportation fuels). And because of a constant supply of organic waste, there is an almost infinite supply of bioenergy production!

Biomass Success

2016-01-page-11-image-3With the help of GIZ, Nashik Municipal Corporation intends to implement a highly innovative waste-to-energy project. The aim is to produce clean energy from wastewater and organic waste. This will include the setting up of a combined heat and power plant that uses the generated methane to produce electricity. And with an additional benefit: other towns and cities in India have shown interest in adopting this project.

Hydropower in India: Making Big Waves

India ranks fifth in the world in terms of usable hydroelectric potential, with an estimated capacity of 148GW. This can make hydropower one of the most important future sources to meet the country’s energy needs. India has roughly 42GW of hydropower generation capacity, while an additional 13GW is under construction. Though hydropower is clean energy, its benefits need to be weighed against the environmental and social costs.

Did you know that the first hydroelectric power plant is in Darjeeling, West Bengal. 2016-01-page-10-image-1It has an installed capacity of 130kW and was commissioned in 1897.


Hydropower is derived from the force of moving water. This force is used to spin a turbine and operate a generator to produce electricity.

 Run-of-river (ROR) plant  The turbines are spun by the natural flow of the river, usually without any storage facility.

 Storage plant  A dam is used to slow down the flow of a river and store water in a large reservoir. Electricity is generated by releasing water from the reservoir through a turbine, which activates a generator.

 Pumped storage plant  During off-peak hours, reversible pumps are used to send water back from lower reservoirs to upper reservoirs.

 Offshore Hydropower  An upcoming technology that uses tidal currents to generate electricity.

Hydropower Success

2016-01-page-11-image-4KfW supported the rehabilitation and modernisation of the Hirakud hydropower plant by financing the renovation of two turbines in the plant as well as providing consulting services for quality assurance on site. As a result, the output of both turbines increased from 24MW to 32MW; thereby boosting the total output of the seven machinery sets in the plant by 16MW to 275.5MW.