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COVID-19 is yet another pandemic that has severely infected the humankind, worldwide. It has deeply shattered the economy by punching a long-lasting dent on it. To push the Indian economy & decrease the dependence on imports Indian Biogas Association (IBA) organised a webinar on the topic “Bio-CNG: An opportunity to reduce crude imports and move towards a decarbonised economy” on April 24, 2020.

Speakers from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, NITI Aayog, and GAIL India came to discuss the technical, economic, and social issues of the aforementioned topic. Shri Anand Kumar, Secretary, MNRE spoke about the ecosystem that the Ministry has created for Renewables. He also emphasized renewable energy can even provide energy in hard to reach area. Taking the further initiative to this, Joint Secretary Shri Dinesh Jagdale talked about the recently revised subsidy document related to bio-CNG. He also answered the queries raised by the audience.

The Government of India has envisaged 5,000 bio-CNG plants, which are to be commissioned in a phase-wise manner across India under the SATAT scheme over the next five years. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) in the area of biofuels policy. Shri H. K. Garg of GAIL India discussed the plan and highlighted how GAIL India can fulfill the market introduction linkage of the biogas value chain. He also discussed the possibility of grid insertion of upgraded biogas.

IBA President Dr. Atma Ram Shukla informed that more than 350 participants attended the webinar. It addressed various challenges faced by biogas/bio-CNG stakeholders, such as financial closure of projects, difficulty in loan availability, obtaining required permits, and clearances, and adequacy of government subsidies. According to a recent online survey conducted by the IBA among its members of the bio-CNG industry, these bottlenecks were of high priority. An entrepreneurship-based roadmap was also presented. Some of its important points were as follows:

  • Providing Generation based subsidy,
  • Creation of ‘Bio-Gas-Fertilizer Fund’, and
  • Establishment of ‘Biogas Grid’ at the rural level.

Dr. Shukla said that this step would go a long way in highlighting the true potential of bio-CNG based on “coordination, communication and solution” to overcome major barriers in the route of bio-CNG through webinar series.

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