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NTPC ramping up coal stock to meet power demand spike

Coal stocks have depleted at thermal power plants owing to an increase in demand for electricity and lower generation by hydropower plants, among other things. (REUTERS)Premium
Coal stocks have depleted at thermal power plants owing to an increase in demand for electricity and lower generation by hydropower plants, among other things. (REUTERS)

  • The move assumes significance against the backdrop of India stopping coal supplies for a week to plants having more than 15 days' stock to free up about 177,000 tonnes of fossil fuel to be redistributed to power plants having low stocks

NEW DELHI : State-run NTPC Ltd on Monday said it is arranging for coal at its power projects where fuel stocks are low, and increasing production from its captive coal mines to help meet the spike in electricity demand.

This assumes significance, given that NTPC is the country's largest power generation utility, and comes against the backdrop of India stopping coal supplies for a week to plants having more than 15 days' stock to free up about 177,000 tonnes of fossil fuel to be redistributed to power plants having low stocks.

The coal stocks have depleted at thermal power plants owing to an increase in demand for electricity and lower generation by hydropower plants, among other things. In a reflection of revival of economic activity in the country, India’s peak electricity demand recorded an all-time high of 200.57 gigawatts (GW) on 7 July. The demand is currently around 192-193 GW.

“The country is witnessing a sharp increase in power demand, and NTPC is making all efforts to meet the demand according to the grid requirement. NTPC has geared up to meet the increasing demand and the generation from NTPC group stations has registered a 23% growth compared with the previous year," NTPC said in a statement on Monday.

The public sector unit has an installed capacity of around 67 GW across 70 power projects, and 18 GW under construction. NTPC plans to invest 1 trillion between 2019 and 2024 to become a 130GW power producer by 2032.

“To meet the increase in demand, following actions have been taken: Under flexible utilization of coal policy, NTPC is arranging coal at the stations where the stock position is critical," the statement said, and added, “Continuously coordinating with Coal India and the railways for augmenting coal supply at critical stations and diverting rakes wherever required."

India’s power sector is the largest consumer of coal in the country, with CIL being the largest coal miner. Of India’s installed power generation capacity of 383.37 GW, coal-fuelled projects account for 53% or 202.67 GW.

Some measures to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply by easing coal stocks include: sourcing coal from captive coal mine of Odisha Coal & Power Limited (OCPL) for NTPC Ltd’s Daralipali project whose second 800 MW unit will start commercial operation from 1 September.

“Darlipalli Unit#2 (800 MW) was put in operation and commercial operation of the unit is being done with effect from 1 September 2021. The plant is a pit-head station, and the coal is being fed from captive mine of NTPC (Dulanga)," the statement said, and added, “Increasing coal production from all captive mines of NTPC."

This comes at a time of fuel demand increasing on account of a higher offtake from the power sector, with India’s electricity demand on an upward trajectory. In a reflection of growing demand, CIL registered a 28.4% growth in coal offtake for the first four months of the current financial year compared with the corresponding period last fiscal.

“It has been observed that the states are not scheduling from gas stations but drawing from the grid. To have adequate planning for making arrangement for gas by the generators, it is advised that the states may schedule power at least for a week," the statement said.

Of CIL’s coal production target of 670 million tonnes (mt) for the current financial year, the demand from the power sector is expected to account for around 545 mt. India’s overall coal requirement is expected to go up to 1,123 mt by 2023 from the present level of 700 mt.

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