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Biomass - Exemption From Environment Impact Assessment
Environment Impact Assessment ("EIA") is basically a mechanism of evaluating specified industrial projects from environment sustainability angle and ensuring safeguards.
EIA has been notified under Environment Protection Act, 1986 vide EIA notification no. S.O. 1533 (E), dated the 14th September, 2006 ("EIA Notification").
Depending on the capacity, the EIA Notification has classified projects (including expansion/modernization etc.) in to category "A" and category "B". While projects falling under category "A" requires clearance from Ministry of Environment and Forests ("MOEF") and projects falling under category "B" requires clearance from State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority ("SEIA").
Original Position: According to EIA Notification, thermal power plants with capacity of:
(i) ≥ 500 MW (coal/lignite/naphta & gas based); and (ii) ≥ 50 MW (Pet coke diesel and all other fuels), requires approval from MOEF; AND
(i) < 500 MW (coal/lignite/naptha & gas based); and (ii) <50 MW ≥ 5MW (Pet coke ,diesel and all other fuels ), requires approval from SEIA.
Revised Position: The government has now amended EIA notification and provided exemption to certain categories renewable energy based power plants from obtaining this clearance. According to the amended EIA Notification, thermal power plants with capacity of:
(i) ≥ 500 MW (coal/lignite/naphta & gas based); (ii) ≥ 50 MW (Pet coke diesel and all other fuels including refinery residual oil except biomass); and (iii) ≥ 20 MW (based on biomass or non-hazardous municipal solid waste as fuel) requires approval from MOEF; AND
(i) < 500 MW (coal/lignite/naptha & gas based); (ii) <50 MW ≥ 5MW (Pet coke ,diesel and all other fuels including refinery residual oil waste except biomass); (iii) < 20 MW > 15W (based on biomass or non-hazardous municipal solid waste as fuel), requires approval from SEIA.
Total Exemption Under Revised Position: (i) power plants up to 15 MW, based on biomass and auxiliary fuel such as coal / lignite / petroleum products up to 15% are exempt; (ii) power plants up to 15 MW, based on non-hazardous municipal waste and using auxiliary fuel such as coal / lignite / petroleum products up to 15% are exempt. (iii) power plants using waste heat boiler without any auxiliary fuel are exempt.
BioFuel - Amendment to Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989
The government has notified Central Motor Vehicles (Fourth Amendment) Rules, 2016 and included a new rule 115F i.e.Mass Emission Standards for Bio-Diesel (B100). According to this newly notified rule, newly manufactured vehicles fitted with compression ignition engine compatible to run on diesel or mixture of bio-diesel up to 100% bio-diesel (B100) needs to be of a type approved as per prevailing diesel emission norms.
The new rule further provides that compatibility of vehicle to level of bio-diesel blend or B100 needs to be specified by the vehicle manufacturer and the same needs to be displayed on vehicle by putting a clearly visible sticker.
This notification will open up a huge market for the people who cultivate non-edible fuel seeds e.g. Jatropha. Presently, biofuel technologies and projects enjoy 100% foreign equity through automatic route, provided the biofuel is for domestic use only, and not for export. Plantations in bio-fuel is not yet opened for FDI.
Test requirements for the type approval and extension for different classes of vehicles, test specifications for bio-fuel are specified in the notification.
N.B. Greeinvent India has written extensively on bio-fuels and indicated policy changes earlier. In references below, the relevant links are reproduced.