Sustained private sector investment is vital for the bioenergy sector to achieve compound growth and contribute to the successful progression of India’s clean energy trajectory. This would require developing strong supply chains, which can ensure viable long-term biomass sourcing for power plants and private sector use. This can also streamline the price of biomass in the market.
In this regard, the sources of biomass that can be used as feedstock in modern bioenergy supply chains need to be well understood. It was highlighted at the beginning of this paper that 750 MMT of agri-based biomass is available in the country. However, only a small fraction of the surplus being generated (230 MMT) is utilised for energy conversion. There is also a need to focus on other sources of waste such as non-food crop residues and organic waste, which offer similar or, in some cases, better calorific value and can feature as potential feedstock for bioenergy generation in India. Forest industries are also coming up as potential feedstock suppliers of products such as saw wood and pine wood, which are cheaper and abundantly available. According to the IEA, the useful energy content of the feedstock can become as high as 130 Mtoe by 2040.47 Therefore, a sustainable and viable long-term supply chain of biomass feedstock has to be established.
Another focal point is the provision of bankable innovative conversion technologies for bioenergy production, alongside a stable and supportive policy and regulatory regime, which would provide the much-needed impetus for sectoral development. Banks still lack the requisite knowledge on how to viably appraise bioenergy projects and often deem them as risky. Thus, concessional financing and partial risk facilities could encourage private sector investment in the bioenergy sector. Moreover, strategic financial solutions such as credit enhancement could boost banks’ confidence in lending to the sector.
Bioenergy has the potential to decarbonise not only the electricity sector but also the industrial, transport and aviation sectors, in addition to others. Therefore, it is all the more crucial for relevant stakeholders in the market to maintain a sharp focus on this sector.