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India staring at power crisis after rains hit coal movement, generation at pvt plants down


In some states, including Delhi and Punjab, an energy crisis is looming due to a combination of factors such as excess rainfall affecting the movement of coal and imported coal-fired power plants generating less than half of their capacity due to record highs.

In the year that record coal was mined in the country, rains hit the movement of fuel from mines to power units, affecting electricity production in many states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

While electricity producers and distributors warned of power outages as generating units use coal in just two days, the Ministry of Coal said the country has sufficient reserves of coal, and low reserves does not mean generation will stop as reserves are constantly being replenished.

Another factor contributing to the current crisis is power plants, which have used imported coal to generate electricity, or have either cut production or stopped altogether as surges in global energy prices have made it difficult for them to meet their obligations to states at a certain rate. …

Tata Power, which has signed contracts to supply 1,850 MW of electricity to Gujarat, 475 MW to Punjab, 380 MW to Rajasthan, 760 MW to Maharashtra and 380 MW to Haryana from its imported coal-fired power plant in Mundra in Gujarat, has stalled. generation.

Adani Power Mundra also faces a similar problem.

Power plants across the country were regulating production after reserves were depleted. Despite the requirement to maintain supplies for 15 to 30 days, more than half of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants, which together generate about 70 percent of the country’s electricity, have fuel reserves of less than two days, according to data from the grid operator.

However, the ministry of coal said the stocks reported by the power plants are rolling stock, which means stocks are being replenished day after day.

“There are about 40 million tons of coal in the mines and another 7.5 million tons in power plants,” a senior ministry official said. “The evacuation from the mines at the power plant was as much of a problem as the heavy rainfall due to the flooding of the mines. But now it is being clarified, and supplies to the power plants are growing. “

Tata Power Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), which supplies electricity to parts of the national capital, warned of intermittent power outages on Saturday as the divisions supplying electricity to Delhi have coal reserves to meet their generation needs within 1-2 days. its CEO Ganesh Srinivasan said.

Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejrival sent a letter to the Prime Minister regarding the “energy crisis” that Delhi may face. “I personally follow the situation. We are doing our best to avoid this, ”said Kejriwal.

“We stopped production at Mundra because the high cost of imported coal makes it impossible to supply on current PPA terms,” said a Tata Power spokesman.

Adani Power did not immediately comment on this.

The Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) also cited the same reason for introducing 3-4 hour rotational load shedding at several locations across the state. Rajasthan cuts off electricity for an hour every day.

Electricity supplies to Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have also been hit by the coal crisis.

PSPCL reported that two units at the Talvandi Sabo power plant, Ropar plant and one unit at the 475 MW Lehra Mohabbat power plant were closed.

In Rajasthan, electricity is cut for one hour a day, while Tamil Nadu Electricity Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) said electricity will be cut off in parts of Chennai to carry out repairs in the city.

Jharkhand and Bihar are also among the hardest hit by coal shortages. In Andhra Pradesh, acute supply shortages have pushed unplanned power outages, adding that crops could dry out if there is no electricity to run irrigation pumps.

“The last phase of the harvest requires more water, and if this is denied, the fields will dry up and the farmers will lose,” said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy in a letter to the Prime Minister.

In Odisha, the industry faced a coal shortage and petitioned the state government to provide sufficient fuel.

The crisis faced by the states lasts for several months. As India’s economy began to recover from its second deadly wave COVID-19, the demand for electricity has skyrocketed. In the last two months alone, electricity consumption has grown by almost 17 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

At the same time, global coal prices rose 40 percent and India’s imports fell to a two-year low.

The country is the second largest coal importer in the world, although it also has the fourth largest coal reserves in the world.

Power plants, which usually depend on imports, are now heavily dependent on Indian coal, adding to pressure on already limited domestic supplies.

An interdepartmental subgroup, led by the Ministry of Coal, monitors the situation with coal reserves twice a week. To manage the coal reserves and ensure the fair distribution of coal, the DOE has formed a Core Management Team (CMT) that closely monitors and manages coal reserves on a daily basis and ensures follow-up with Coal India Ltd and Railways. improve the supply of coal to power plants.

Coal India Ltd’s coal shipments reached 1.501 million tonnes Oct. 7, narrowing the gap between consumption and actual supply, sources said, adding efforts to boost power sector shipments to 1.6 million tonnes per day over the next three days and then to 1.7. … million tons.

Sources named four reasons for the depletion of coal reserves at the power plant: an unprecedented increase in electricity demand due to the economic recovery, heavy rains in the areas of coal mines in September, affecting production as well as shipping, and rising prices for imported coal. to unprecedented levels, leading to a significant reduction in electricity generation from imported coal-fired power plants and the inability to create sufficient coal reserves before the onset of the rainy season.

The daily electricity consumption has exceeded 4 billion units per day.

The price of imported coal from Indonesia jumped from $ 60 per tonne in March to $ 160, resulting in a 43.6% reduction in electricity generation from imported coal, resulting in additional domestic coal demand of 17.4 million tonnes in April-September.

On Friday, the Department of Energy released guidance on how to make optimal use of generating plants in line with grid requirements. They added that the guidelines would allow imported coal-fired power plants (with sufficient coal) to operate and reduce the load on domestic coal.



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