Q.2)The waste-to-energy initiative can boost India's goal of “energy diversification”. Critically evaluate.

Why this Question:

Indian Oil and NDMC have signed a MoU for development of a waste to energy plant at Ranikhera.

Key demand of the Question:

Evaluation of the waste-to-energy initiative and its future in India.


Give your verdict as to what extent a statement or findings within a piece of research are true, or to what extent you agree with them. Provide evidence taken from a wide range of sources which both agree with and contradict an argument. Come to a final conclusion, basing your decision on what you judge to be the most important factors and justify how you have made your choice.


Give an introduction about the waste-to-energy initiative of the government.


In the first part, write about advantages of the initiative and the need and impact of this initiative in a country like India where maximum of the energy demands are met from imports and mostly of the conventional sources of energy which are non-renewable.

In the next part, mention the challenges that the initiative is likely to face.


Conclude by giving a way forward to overcome the challenges.

Model Answer

Waste-to-Energy (WtE) or Energy-from-Waste (EfW) is a form of energy recovery and the process of generating energy in the form of electricity and/or heat by processing of waste into a fuel source. They convert municipal and industrial solid waste into electricity and/or heat for industrial processing. 

Apart from producing electricity, burning waste also reduces the amount of material that would probably be buried in landfills. Burning MSW reduces the volume of waste by about 80%, thereby offering a number of social and economic benefits that cannot easily be quantified.


  1. Usually waste-to-energy plants incinerate 80 to 90 percent of waste, thus helping large cities from choking due to unmanageable waste.
  2. Waste to energy generates clean, reliable energy from a renewable fuel source, thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the combustion of which is a major contributor to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
  3. Some waste-to-energy plants convert salt water to potable fresh water as a by-product of cooling processes.
  4. It is carbon-negative – processing waste into biofuel releases considerably less carbon and methane into the air than having waste decay away in landfills or the lake.
  5. They help in reducing air, water and land pollution.
  6. They are excellent sources of alternative sources of energy and present opportunities for diversification of energy sources in India.

Challenges for Waste to Energy Initiative

  1. Waste-to-Energy is still a new concept in India. Most of the proven and commercial technologies in respect of urban wastes are required to be imported.
  2. The cost of developing new technologies is very high.
  3. Segregated municipal solid waste is generally not available at the plant site, which leads to non-availability of waste for waste-to-energy plants.
  4. Lack of conducive policy guidelines from State Governments in respect of allotment of land, supply of garbage and power purchase / evacuation facilities.

The Waste to Energy initiative presents an excellent opportunity for India to diversify its energy sources and reduce its dependence on imports for its energy requirements. Hence, it becomes very important for the government to make policies for the development of this vital technology and ensure their smooth compliance.