India to add 12 GW thermal capacity by March: RK Singh

  • Singh emphasized on the need for private investments in coal-based power generation.

Rituraj Baruah
First Published6 Nov 2023, 09:06 PM IST
Union power minister RK Singh. (HT Photo)
Union power minister RK Singh. (HT Photo)(HT_PRINT)

New Delhi: India will add about 12 GW of coal-based power generation capacity by the end of this financial year amid a surge in power demand, power minister RK Singh said on Monday.

The 12 GW additional capacity and the gas-based power plants which are kept as reserve would make up for the estimated rise in next financial year, the minister said speaking to reporters on Monday. He said that the country has witnessed around 20% growth in power demand in each of the past three months.

“We have substantial capacity which is in the offing, which is going to be commissioned. By March, we expect about 12,000 MW (thermal capacity) to be commissioned. That more than makes up the gap. That and the fact that we keep monitoring on a daily basis as to where is the shortfall, which state has a shortfall and what capacity in that state was not scheduled. So we are monitoring that and we have said that the unscheduled outages will have to come down.”

Earlier in the day, addressing the opening session of the National Conference of Power and New & Renewable Energy Ministers of States & UTs, the minister said that a total of around 80 GW of thermal plants need to come under construction to meet the growing demand and emphasized on the need for private investments in coal-based power generation.

“Earlier, around 25,000 MW was under construction, mostly in the public sector. But this was not sufficient; so, we started work on adding 25,000 MW, but we need to start work on additional 30,000 MW. I.e., we need about 80,000 MW of thermal capacity under construction. All this capacity addition is being done through the public sector, private sector investment has not started coming, but I am quite certain that private sector investments will come, as we have made the system viable and the sector gives returns.”

The minister further said that some states have not been running their plants at full capacity despite directives from the Centre.

“We observe that some states do not run their power plants at peak capacity and instead seek power from the Centre’s pool. If some state is not running their plants at peak demand, we will not be able to supplement from the central pool. We have to focus on making sure that all our plants run and all our plants run at full capacity,” he told the states.

Addressing the press conference, RK Singh also said that all power generation companies have been directed to generate power at full capacity and after the contracted demand is met they would have to mandatorily offer it to exchanges. Singh said that the gencos would not be able to avail their fixed charges if they do not operate at full capacity and offer their excess power at the exchanges.

“We have gas-based capacity which we keep on reserve. That gas based capacity we are going to utilize to meet that non-solar hours demand. By and large, we also have ensured and we shall continuing ensuring that the imported coal-based plants run fully are put on offer whether to the PPA and if not to the PPA holder then to the exchange.”

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines, Pankaj Agarwal, secretary, union ministry of power said that by 2032 a total of 75 GW additional thermal capacity would be added. Most of the plants would be set up near the pithead of coal mines in a bid to ensure smooth supply of coal.

The minister also said that states have been suggested to develop new plants near pitheads.

The focus on adding thermal capacity comes amid surging power demand. The peak power demand touched a new record high of 239.9 GW on 1 September. The projected peak demand for FY24 was 230 GW.

According to data from the power ministry, as of 31 May, India’s installed thermal power capacity stood at 205.23 GW.

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First Published:6 Nov 2023, 09:06 PM IST
HomeIndustryEnergyIndia to add 12 GW thermal capacity by March: RK Singh

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