Imported coal-fired power plants told to max output, meet demands

Earlier in February this year, power ministry asked 15 imported coal based plants to operate at full capacity from March 16 to June 15, 2023 to avoid any outage due to sudden rise in demand

CIL NLCIL power plants

New Delhi: The Union ministry of power on Monday asked all thermal plants using imported coal to operate at full capacity for the next three-and-a-half months till September 30 to avoid electricity shortage amid rising demand in the country.

The peak power demand or the highest supply in a day rose to a record high of 223.23 GW on June 9 in India.

According to a senior officer, the power ministry has sent letters to all 15 imported coal-based thermal power projects, stating that it (power ministry) has now been decided to extend the time period for Section 11 to imported coal-based generators up to September 30th.

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Earlier in February this year, the ministry asked these imported coal based plants to operate at full capacity from March 16, 2023, to June 15, 2023, invoking Section 11 of the Electricity Act 2003 to avoid any outage due to a sudden rise in power demand. As per trends of power consumption, the ministry has estimated that the peak power demand may touch a record high of 229GW during this summer. However, unseasonal rains affected the demand as people used fewer cooling appliances like air conditioners, which consume huge electricity.

The 15 imported coal-based (ICB) power plants include Tata Power and Adani Power‘s plants in Mundra in Gujarat, Essar power plant in Salaya, JW Ratnagiri, Tata Trombay, Udupi Power, Meenakshi Energy, and JSW Torangallu.

Also Read: India power sector needs ₹14.54 lakh cr spend to meet demand

Union power secretary Alok Kumar had in December 2022 said that the Centre will take all possible steps to meet the 230 gigawatt (G) single-day peak demand. The ministry’s notice issued to imported coal-based (ICB) plants in February noted that in the likely scenario of a gap in the demand and supply of domestic coal and essential requirement of maintaining coal stock at generating stations, the use of imported coal needs to be increased by way of blending with the domestic fuel in domestic coal-based plants and also by ensuring optimum generation from ICB plants.

This will ease the pressure on domestic coal supply and also ensure that all the plants are available during the peak demand period, said the officer. The ministry has provided for pass through of higher cost of imported coal as well as the provision of sale of excess power in exchanges.

Also Read: ‘Renewable energy share goes up 27.5% in total power generation’

Besides, this year a new segment of high price-day ahead market was also launched to facilitate ICB plants, gas-based plants and battery energy storage projects to sell power at a price of up to ₹50 per unit at exchanges.

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