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Pine Needle Power Projects

Pine Needle Power Projects:

Uttarakhand’s innovative pine needle power projects, aimed at mitigating forest fires and generating electricity, have fallen short of expectations. Despite the vast potential, technological and practical challenges have hindered their success.

  • In 2021, the Uttarakhand State government under bio-energy projects announced a scheme to establish power projects that would use pine needles as fuel to generate electricity.
  • The original plan was to establish multiple units ranging from 10kW to 250 kW across the State in three phases (worth about 150 MW).
  • Though the government expected 58 units to be set up, only six units of 250 kW (totally worth 750 kW) have been established.
  • Agency Involved: Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA).
  • 16.36% of Uttarakhand’s forest area is covered by chir pine (Pinus roxburghii) forests. An estimated 15 lakh tonnes of pine needles are generated annually in the state.
  • If 40% of this, coupled with agricultural residue, could be utilised, it could significantly aid the state’s power requirements and provide employment.
  • Chir pine as an exotic Species prevents the regeneration of localised species.
  • Using pine needles as fuel is more efficient and less polluting than using them as firewood or letting them burn away.