Fewer power plants in India face coal shortage

8 August 2018 (Last Updated November 19th, 2018 14:22)

The Indian government announced yesterday that the number of power plants facing coal shortages has reduced over the last four months following the collaborative efforts of state-owned Coal India Limited (CIL) and railways to boost supplies.

Fewer power plants in India face coal shortage
A thermal power plant in Neyveli Credit: NLC India Ltd.

The Indian government announced yesterday that the number of power plants facing coal shortages has reduced over the last four months following the collaborative efforts of state-owned Coal India Limited (CIL) and railways to boost supplies.

Power Minister R K Singh has said that, according to the Daily Coal Report published by Central Electricity Authority, the number of power plants facing critical stock in April this year was 13, while 17 reported super-critical stock. This figure reduced to six and seven respectively in July. The number of those in a super-critical state dipped again as of 1 August, falling to six.

The minister also confirmed that CIL worked jointly with railways to boost supplies.

Between April and July, CIL’s coal dispatch to the power sector was 161.72 million tonnes, compared to the 140.56 million tonnes from the same period last year, representing a growth of 15.1%.

In a statement to the House, Singh said: “During the first quarter of the current (financial) year 2018-2019, the growth in thermal generation was 5.69% and the growth in thermal generation from NTPC power plants was 7.76%.”

He added that alternative sources of power such as hydro, nuclear and renewables are used to meet any additional electricity demands.

India is one of the largest energy consumers in the world, overtaking Japan in 2015 as the third largest oil-consuming country after China and the US. It currently has the fifth greatest installed power capacity in the world, with thermal power as the country’s dominant energy source, making up around 65% of electricity. Hydroelectric and renewable sources follow as the largest energy suppliers, with nuclear coming in fourth.

Its energy needs are expected to continue growing, with BP Energy Outlook estimating its consumption needs will increase 4.2% each year by 2035, faster than any of the other major economies in the world.

Though the country has said it intends to move away from traditional fossil fuel-based sources, its continued reliance on coal is a point of concern for nations adamant that more ambitious renewable targets must be set to ensure temperatures remain below the two degree Celsius mark.