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Punjab officials have approved a plan to have nine ailing sugar mills in the state produce green energy via cogeneration facilities.

The co-operative-owned mills, which will still produce sugar, are expected to collectively generate 150MW of electricity when the plants are completed by September 2010.

The energy produced would be used to run the plants, with surplus power sold to utility companies.

The cogeneration facilities will burn the residue of crushed sugarcane and also agricultural waste to generate power. Some of the steam produced in the cogeneration process will be used to refine sugar.

Similar schemes have been adopted across India, where 107 of the country’s 650 sugar mills have cogeneration plants with a combined capacity of nearly 2GW, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association. Most of the cogeneration facilities are in the nation’s five sugarcane growing states of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

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