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Business News/ News / India/  Thermal power rises in Apr-Oct as demand soars
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Thermal power rises in Apr-Oct as demand soars

The ministry said there is a consistent rising trend in power demand, coupled with inadequate supply of domestic coal which has resulted in rapid depletion of stocks at DCB plants

The peak power demand touched a new record high of 239.9GW on 1 September, way above the projected peak demand 230GW for FY24.. (Photo: Mint)Premium
The peak power demand touched a new record high of 239.9GW on 1 September, way above the projected peak demand 230GW for FY24.. (Photo: Mint)

New Delhi: Amid growing power demand, coal-based power generation increased 8.6% in the April-October period of FY24 compared to a year ago, said the union power minister RK Singh.

Data provided by the minister in a written reply to Rajya Sabha also showed that the growth in thermal power generation was the highest in October at 25%.

“During April-October’23, the average growth in coal-based generation, with respect to corresponding period of FY 23, was 8.6% and the depletion in DCB (domestic coal-based) plants stocks was 15.3 million tonnes," he said.

The increase in generation has come in the backdrop of a surge in power demand this year amid high temperature and El Nino phenomenon and eventual dry weather during the summer months.

The peak power demand touched a new record high of 239.9GW on 1 September, way above the projected peak demand 230GW for FY24.

The minister also said there was a 14% fall in hydro generation in the first half of FY24 compared with the corresponding period of FY23 due to variable monsoon rain. Around 2 GW of hydro capacity is currently inoperational because of floods in Sikkim.

“The reservoir levels in northern, eastern and southern regions are less compared to the previous year as on 9 October, 2023, which has resulted in lower reservoir energy content at pan-India level. This has put additional burden on coal-based thermal generation."

He noted that given the pressure on thermal plants, the ministry in order to ensure uninterrupted power supply across the country, in October directed all power generation companies to continue blending at least 6% imported coal for the rest period of FY24.

The ministry said there is a consistent rising trend in power demand, coupled with inadequate supply of domestic coal which has resulted in rapid depletion of stocks at DCB plants.

So far in FY24, gencos have imported 35.3 million tonne coal, out of which 13.6 million tonne has been imported for blending purposes by domestic coal-based (DCB) power plants and 21.7 million tonne has been imported by imported coal-based (ICB) plants, showed the data provided in parliament.

The rise in coal-based power generation comes at a time when the government has set ambitious energy transition goals. The Centre aims to take the country’s non-fossil power capacity to 500 GW by 2030. According to data provided by the ministry of new and renewable energy in the parliament, a total of 186.46 GW capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources has been installed in the country as of 31 October 2023, which includes 178.98 GW renewable energy and 7.48 GW nuclear power.

However, given the surge in power demand in the past couple of years, along with adding renewable energy capacity, the government has also bolstered its plans to add to the thermal capacity.

Last month the power minister, who also holds the portfolio of new and renewable energy, said that India will add 12 gigawatts of coal-based power generation capacity in the current fiscal year to meet the sustained growth in the power demand. Further, the government plans to add a total of 75 GW thermal capacity by 2030.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rituraj Baruah
Rituraj Baruah is a senior correspondent at Mint, reporting on housing, urban affairs, small businesses and energy. He has reported on diverse sectors over the last six years including, commodities and stocks market, insolvency and real estate. He has previous stints at Cogencis Information Services, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) and Inc42.
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Published: 05 Dec 2023, 10:10 PM IST
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