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NEW DELHI : India’s power minister R.K. Singh on Tuesday said that the coal stock scenario in the country is improving with imported coal starting to flow in. 

Given the government’s focus on imported coal to stock up the fossil fuel at power plants, Singh told reporters here that almost all states have started the process of importing coal. 

The ministry had on June 1 directed power generation companies to start the process of coal imports by June 3, failing which they would allocated only 70% of their requirement of domestic coal.

Responding to a question on the coal stock situation, the minister said: “What happened was that Coal India Ltd increased their production, but not to the extent that was now required...so basically, our reserve stocks of domestic coal started falling down from down 24 million tonne on April 1 in the power plant to about 18.5 on the 31 May. now imports have started coming so now..."

He also said that the reserve stock of domestic coal has now increased to around 20 million tonne.

Singh also said that India will increase its coal production given the high demand for power in the country. 

“On a day to day basis my demand is 40,000 to 45,000 MW more than the corresponding day last year. My energy demand or energy consumption has gone up from 3,500 million (3.5 billion) units on an average to 4,500 million (4.5 billion) units. That’s an increase of a 1000 million (1 billion) units on a day to day basis," he said.

With the ongoing heatwave in parts of the country, power demand has increased in the past few days with maximum power demand met surpassing the 200 GW mark. On June 6, the maximum power demand met stood at 202.439 GW and peak shortage was 1.628 GW.

The demand is expected to rise further given projections of a continuing heatwave. The Indian Meteorological Department has projected that heatwave conditions are likely to prevail again due to the influence of dry and warm westerlies blowing from the direction of Pakistan. 

On Monday, the Indian Meteorological Department projected heat wave conditions in isolated pockets over Northwest, Central & adjoining East India during next 3-4 days.

“Since May 31 to June 2, the impact of easterlies at the lower level decreased and there has been increasing dry and warmer westerly from the direction of Pakistan, making areas of northwest and central India further dry and also warmer," said an IMD official

In another development, the power minister on Tuesday also announced that the Green Open Access Rules, 2022 said that commercial and industrial consumers are now allowed to purchase green power on voluntarily basis. The rules were notified earlier in the day.

Singh said that with the new rules in place, captive consumers can take power under ‘Green Open Access’ with no minimum limitation and discoms can demand for supply of green power to them. If the application for green power supply is not approved within 15 days, then it would be deemed approved, he added.

The green open access is allowed to any consumer and the limit of ‘Open Access Transaction’ has been reduced from 1 MW to 100 kW for green energy, to enable small consumers also to purchase renewable power through open access.

There shall be a uniform renewable purchase obligation, on all obligated entities in area of a distribution licensees, said an official statement. It has also included the green hydrogen under its ambit for fulfilment of the RPO.

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