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Surrounded by agricultural fields, the Koganti biomass power plant in India takes advantage of Karnataka’s plentiful farm waste (biomass) such as rice husks, groundnut husks, cotton stalks and chilli stalks to generate renewable electricity.
This clean energy is a substitute for electricity generated using conventional fossil fuels and is supplied to India’s Southern Grid. The primary sources of power in the region are coal-fired power plants, which create high volumes of greenhouse gas emissions and cause local air pollution.
Koganti contributes to minimizing India’s greenhouse gas emissions, helps reduce demand for finite natural resources like coal, gas and oil, and improves local air quality. Koganti’s power output prevents 28,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases being generated each year.
The additional revenue from the sale of carbon credits provided the necessary incentive to justify the investment in this project.
Benefits Beyond Carbon Reduction
Whilst Karnataka has been the fastest growing Indian state over the past decade in terms of GDP – largely due to the IT boom in its capital Bangalore – much of its rural population still lives in poverty. Many people living in rural villages have inadequate access to healthcare and other services, and many homes do not have electricity.
The project employs 76 people directly and indirectly created employment for a further 160 people including bankers, consultants, transporters, suppliers, manufacturers and contractors.
Prior to the construction of the Koganti project, there was a shortage of power in the area, and frequent power cuts. The project has significantly improved the local electricity supply in terms of both total capacity and reliability.
The plant was set up to turn rice husk and other crop residues into renewable energy, creating new markets for agricultural waste. The farmers who supply the biomass now have year-round employment, whereas beforehand their agricultural activity was restricted to six or seven months in a year. They also receive ash from the power plant to use as fertiliser, leading to improved soil conditions and higher crop yields.
The local taxes being paid by the project owner have helped the local authorities to improve public facilities such as street lighting and new water pipelines.
Community consultations were held as part of the project verification at which every representative confirmed that the project helps the socio-economic development of the village and nearby area without adversely affecting the local environment.