In a major step forward in solar power generation, an indigenously developed 3 MW plant that works in tandem with biomass to ensure uninterrupted supply is to come up in this small town in the heart of Bihar - with funding from the European Union.
"This is the first time that this technology is being used in India in a plant of this scale. Our objective is to make this technology scalable so that it can be used across India," Anshu Bharadwaj, executive director of Bengaluru-based CSTEP (Center for Study of Science Technology and Policy), one of the organisations involved in the design and development of the project, said at the project's inauguration here Thursday.
Barun is 150 km from Bihar capital Patna.
"This technology uses clean energy, and better still, the components used in this plant, in both the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) island and the biomass island will be completely indigenously manufactured," R.R. Sonde of Thermax Company Limited said at the event.
The land for the project, called SCOPEBIG, has been given by the Bihar State Power Transmission Company Limited to the consortium of organisations that will be developing this project, which is being funded by the European Union under the Indo-European Renewable Energy Programme.
SCOPEBIG is the abbreviation for Scalable CSP Optimised Power Plant Engineered with Biomass Integrated Gasification.
Once the plant is up and running, it will be handed over to the Bihar State Power Generation Company Limited. In the meantime, not only will the project consortium construct and start power generation in the plant, it will also train a local workforce to run and maintain the plant.
"The focus on developing the solar biomass hybrid technology is only one side of the coin. The other side includes the creation of viable business models and conducive policy frameworks. To spread the uptake of this technology, ensuring financial sustainability and policy support are two crucial aspects that power generation has to consider," a CSTEP statement said.
Since the final beneficiary of the plant will be the state power company, the project "has from the beginning ensured the support of the government. On the other hand, as the project is starting off, plans of setting up biomass supply chains in the region are being put into action by the consortium", the statement said.
Apart from CSTEP and Thermax, the other organisations involved in the project are the Bihar State Power Generation Company Limited (BSPGCL), Energy Centre of the Netherlands (EC) and National Centre for Scientific Research (France) (NCSR).
"It is envisaged that SCOPEBIG will promote sustainable and inclusive growth to develop hybrid solar thermal biomass technologies," the CSTEP statement said.