India bagasse cogen project hits six-year stall

A cogeneration project in India’s Tamil Nadu state has reportedly not yet been built, six years after its foundation stone was laid.

The plant at the Alanganallur National Cooperative Sugar Mills was part of a tranche of 12 15-MWe cogeneration plants planned in 2010 by the state’s government, The Times of India reports.

The project was backed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) with funding from the Power Finance Corporation, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and the Sugar Development Fund. And in 2012 the state government issued a $64.4 million short term loan to TNEB for the project.

The 12 plants were to run on sugarcane bagasse (pictured) during the crushing season, substituting coal during the off-season, and were to be fast-tracked for completion within 18 months.

Together they would have produced 183 MWe, The Times said, with the unused power exported to the grid to help mitigate the state’s power crisis.

This week the president of Tamil Nadu’s sugarcane farmers’ trade association said the Alanganallur plant is 80% complete, but he said more funding is needed to complete the remaining work.

Once completed, the plant is expected to produce 15 MWe, of which 5 MWe will cover the mill’s power needs. 

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