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Amit Shah asks Power Ministry to work with States to bring all power plants online

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Home Minister Amit Shah has asked the power ministry to work with the States to bring all idle power plants, including those running on gas and imported coal, online to meet the increasing demand for electricity.

Shah reviewed the coal and power situation in the country on Monday in a high-level meeting attended by Power Minister RK Singh, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi and Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav, besides secretaries from the respective ministries.

Sources said the Home Minister deliberated on the power and coal situation in the country. Shah directed the power ministry to work with the States to get all the power plants online to meet the growing power consumption in the country.

“The Home Minister also asked the Power Ministry to review the status of various power plants that are undergoing insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings and to explore avenues to solve their issues and try to bring them online. This is a medium-term measure,” a senior government official said.

Shah also took stock of the country’s installed capacity and generation. As of March 2022, India’s total installed capacity is about 399 gigawatts (GW), of which coal accounts for 210.76 GW, gas (25 GW), diesel (509.71 MW), Hydro (46.72 GW), Renewable energy sources (109.89 GW) and Nuclear (6.8 GW).

In terms of generation, on May 3, thermal power generation stood at 3,626.19 million units (MU), followed by Hydro (401.08 MU), nuclear (113.83 MU), import from Bhutan (10.19 MU), wind (265.1 MU) and solar (264.17 MU).

Coal-Power crisis

As temperatures in April broke records, surpassing 47 degrees in some places, India’s power consumption also broke all previous records in line with the rising mercury.

The coal supply situation has also been stretched as imported coal-based (ICB) plants have not been importing the key commodity due to high prices in the global market and have been depending on domestic supplies, which has further exacerbated the situation.

For instance, on April 29, India’s maximum power demand met during the day hit an all-time high of 207 GW. On the same day, the peak shortage recorded was 8120 MW and the energy shortage was 214.12 million units (MU).

To deal with the situation, the power ministry has already directed States and gencos to start importing coal for blending at 10 per cent. Some states have started the process, but around 4-5 states are yet to float tenders. These states have been asked to float tenders in May itself.

Accordingly, the States and Gencos have been advised to import coal of about 60.7 million tonnes (mt). Of this, 20 mt will be done by NTPC, 3 MT by DVC, 21.8 MT by State Gencos and 15.9 MT by Independent power producers (IPPs).

Besides, NTPC and DVC will make available 18 mt by August, 2022, as the centre wants as much coal (from both domestic and imports) at plants by August as rains will impact production and transport of the key commodity.

As of May 3, domestic coal-based (DCB) power plants had reserve stocks for 7.9 days and ICB plants for 7.2 days. The actual stocks at 147 non-pithead plants were 25 per cent of their normative requirement. Also, 87 DCB plants and 11 ICB plants have stocks lower than 25 per cent of their normative requirement.

Published on

May 04, 2022



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