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Energy production using fossil fuels is the major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, which is perceived to be the main cause for global warming. Evidences collated by IPCC (IPCC, 2007a) clearly indicate that the warming is having a deleterious effect on ecosystems and its services across the globe. Transitioning to a low-carbon energy economy is a way out for mitigation of impacts of climate change and energy generation through New and Renewable Sources of Energy (NRSE) provide an opportunity for such transition. Punjab has been developing its renewable energy resources for some time now and a status of these developments is as under:

As of 2018, majority of the installed capacity in the state comes from thermal sources. However, renewables and clean power sources, such as nuclear, hydro and other renewables constitute the remaining. Furtherthis could be increased if Punjab were to leverage the power of biomass, abundant in the state due to its large agricultural sector. Of the installed capacity, 35% is owned by the government of Punjab, 49% is privately owned and 17% is centrally owned.

Sources of power in Punjab as percentage of installed capacity (MW) as of March 2018

Source: Economic Survey of Punjab 2019-20

Solar energy

The state is endowed with vast potential of solar energy estimated at 4-7 KWH/sqm of solar insulation levels. About 894.9 MW of solar power projects have been commissioned by 2020. Additionally, under rooftop programme about 60.5 MWcapacity Solar Power Plants have been commissioned in the state at various important Govt., Institutional, and Religious buildings namely Punjab Raj Bhawan, Punjab Civil Secretariat, Golden Temple, Wagah Border, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and PushpaGujral Science City, Kapurthala.

Hydro-electricity:

During 2019-19 (RE) it is estimated that the total availability of energy was 58914Mkwh. Out of which Hydro plants generated 7210 Mkwh. However it is estimated to increase by 2019-20 to 7300 Mkwh.

Large Biogas plants:

High rate Biomethanation Projects (biogas) based on anaerobic digestion technology for Recovery of Energy of about 1MW from Dairy Waste at Haibowal, Ludhiana is operational since 2004. Plans are on to increase the capacity of energy generation from 1MW to 10 MW. Another Cattle Dung based Power Project of similar capacity ~ 1MW shall be installed at Jalandhar on Build, Operate & Own (BOO) basis.

Power generation from Biomass/Agro-residue and waste:

Biomass is defined as living or recently dead organisms and any byproducts of those organisms, plant or animal. In the context of biomass energy, it refers to those crops, residues, and other biological materials that can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels in the production of energy and other products. Punjab has the highest potential for biomass power at 3172 MW, on account of its large agriculture sector, much higher than the installed capacity. However, the installed capacity of biomass power has also increased of 77.2% from 179 MW in 2017 to 317.10 MW in 2018.

An important constraint to the leveraging of biomass power include fragmented nature of land holdings, due to which plants need to collect the straw from farm to farm during the season and the stored fuel gets used through the year. However, the fuel value of the stored straw decreases with time. To overcome this issue, projects could potentially establish stronger linkages by entering into partnership with farmers to deposit their farm residue in designated collection centres. Alternatively, work may be done to develop commercially viable small biomass power projects that collect waste from smaller catchment areas. Cogeneration with sugar mills, using sugarcane bagasse as biomass could be another route.


Source: Punjab Energy Development Agency(PEDA), 2020 (http://www.peda.gov.in/main/SPVPowerProjects.html), Economic Survey of Punjab 2019-20