The biomass power producers in the State have appealed to the State Government to increase the tariff paid for energy supplied to the grid from these plants.

An official of the Biomass Power Producers' Association of Tamil Nadu told The Hindu here recently that the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company was paying a preferential tariff of Rs. 4.50 for a unit of power generated from the biomass power plants and supplied to the grid. The fuel cost was assumed at Rs. 1.20 to generate one unit of power. However, the actual cost was Rs. 3.25 to Rs. 3.5 now.

The Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency had estimated the biomass energy generation capacity in the State to be 300 MW to 400 MW based on the fuel availability. It estimated the biomass cost at Rs. 1,000 per tonne. The actual cost was Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,000 a tonne.

Biomass power production in the State from the independent power producers who used 100 per cent biomass (agro, industrial and saw mill dust) was about 100 MW now. Apart from these, there were several captive plants. Industrial factories such as foundries and dying units also consumed biomass. So the demand for fuel was going up, pushing up the prices.

To generate one unit of power, 1.4 kg to 1.9 kg of biomass was needed, depending on the moisture content. The biomass power plants required fuel security and increase in tariff. Rajasthan had a biomass policy that ensured biomass availability only to the power plants.

In Tamil Nadu, though licence was given for 18 biomass power plants, only seven were in operation. The industry required increase in tariff, permission to sell power to third party and for inter-State sales, fuel availability and preferential treatment to biomass plants. The official suggested that the Government could give wastelands to the units for fuel development. The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company should settle the dues to these plants immediately for the power supplied to the grid, he said.