Cogeneration is expected to play an increasingly important role in the coming years. Environmental concerns and soaring land prices will make renewable sources of energy an attractive option. Co-generation will help improve the quality of life while keeping the environment clean," remarked Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Power, in his keynote address delivered on the occasion of the launch of the The Co-generation Association of India (COGEN). Launched jointly with the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Non-Conventional Energy Sources, M. Kannappan, Prabhu made a reference to the Electricity Bill 2001. The bill, he said, would for the first time make generation de-licensed. Common access to the transmission network would be provided to users through payment of wheeling charges determined by regulators. Prabhu was hopeful that renewable energy would add at least 10 per cent incremental power every year.
Commending co-generation, the minister said that at Rs 2.5 crore to Rs 3 crore per mw co-generation cost was comparable with generating conventional energy which was Rs 4 crore per mw.
In his address, Kannappan said that major incentives were proposed for the co-generation sector during the 10th Plan. Specifically referring to the bagasse co-generation in the sugar industry, the minister said that his ministry was a strong proponent of tapping the optimum potential of this sector to maintain the strength and health of the sugar industry. Studies have shown that between 3,500 mw to 5,000 mw power can be generated through co-generation in the sugar industry with maximum potential of 1,000 mw each in the states of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. So far, surplus power of 249 mw in 40 projects across six states has been installed and another 600-mw capacity is in the pipeline, Kannappan said.
In his initial remarks, Sharad Pawar, the founder and chairperson of COGEN India and MP, said co-generation had the capacity to add 6,000 to 10,000 mw of additional power in the sugar, fertiliser, steel, cement and man-made fibre industry. Pawar described co-generation as a clean cost-effective and reliable source of energy.