More coal-fired plants, gas-based units to meet peak demand in summers

Power utilities have been directed to undertake maintenance of coal-based power plants well in advance to avoid disruptions during peak summer months, a power ministry statement said, adding that all imported coal-based plants have been asked to run at full capacity from 16 March.

Livemint
First Published9 Mar 2023
As per Central Electricity Authority, peak electricity demand is expected to touch 229 GW in April.
As per Central Electricity Authority, peak electricity demand is expected to touch 229 GW in April.

New Delhi: The Union ministry of power on Thursday said that it has crafted a multi-pronged strategy to ensure adequate availability of power during the summer months. As part of the strategy, government would commission more coal-based power plants and run gas-based units to meet the surge in demand.

In a statement, the ministry said that gas-based power plants would be used to meet peak demand.

“The ministry has directed NTPC to run its 5000 MW gas-based power stations during the crunch period in April-May. In addition, 4000 MW of additional gas-based power capacity would be added by other entities for availability during the summer months. GAIL has already assured the ministry of power of the necessary supply of gas during the summer months,” according to the statement.

The ministry has also instructed hydro power plants to operate in consultation with regional and state load dispatch centres to optimise water utilisation this month for better availability next month. An additional capacity of 2920 MW will be made available through new coal-based plants which will be commissioned by the end of this month.

Also, on directions from the ministry, two units at Barauni (2X110MW) plant will be made available during the peak demand period.

On 7 March, Union minister of power & new and renewable energy, RK Singh, had chaired a meeting on meeting high electricity demand in the upcoming months especially during April-May. Alok Kumar, secretary, ministry of power; Ghanshyam Prasad, chairperson, Central Electricity Authority; SR Narsimhan, CMD, Grid Controller of India; Jaya Verma Sinha, member, Railway Board; Sanjiv Kumar Kassi, joint secretary, ministry of coal; Ramesh Babu, director, operations, NTPC, along with other senior officials had attended the meeting.

As part of the strategy, power utilities have been directed to undertake maintenance of coal-based power plants well in advance to avoid disruptions during peak summer months, the statement said, adding that all imported coal-based plants have been asked to run at full capacity from 16 March.

Adequate stocks would be made available at the coal-based power plants. During the meeting, the Indian Railways assured availability of enough rakes for transport of coal. The railway ministry has agreed to provide 418 rakes to different subsidiaries of Coal India Ltd, GSS and captive blocks and also enhance the number of rakes in due course so that sufficient coal stocks can be maintained at power plants.

During the meeting, the union power minister asked power companies to ensure that there is no load-shedding during the summer months. Singh asked all stakeholders to closely monitor the situation and take proactive actions to meet the electricity demand during the coming months. The minister also asked CEA to ensure that a fair and transparent mechanism is devised for allocation of coal to various states and union territories.

As per Central Electricity Authority, peak electricity demand is expected to touch 229 GW in April. The demand tapers off as the monsoon rains kicks in.

With the Indian economy growing at close to 7%, power demand has been increasing nearly 10% per annum, the ministry said. As per estimates, energy demand is expected to be 1,42,097 MU during April, highest for the year, before easing to 1,41,464 MU in May, and falling to 1,17,049 MU by November.

The efforts come in the backdrop of the crisis faced by the country in April-May last year. In January, the power ministry had directed all power generation companies to blend imported coal up to 6% of their requirement till September. The government expects a deficit of 24 million tonne during first half of the next fiscal.

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