“The coal stock at the power plant is sufficient for more than four days’ requirement, and as Coal India is ramping up the coal supply, the coal stock at the power plant would gradually improve,” the ministry has assured.
Union Minister of Power RK Singh reviewed the coal stock position in all thermal power plants, including those supplying power to distribution companies (DISCOMs) of Delhi.
As of October 9, 2021, the total dispatch of coal from all sources was 1.92 million tons, while the total consumption was 1.87 million tons. Thus, the coal dispatch has exceeded the consumption, indicating a shift to the gradual building up of coal stocks, it said.
The DISCOMs in Delhi would get as much power as they request. NTPC and Damodar Valley Corporation had been directed to meet the requirements. The Gas Authority of India had also been directed to make gas available from all sources to gas-based power plants in Delhi.
NTPC has also been advised to offer the normative declared capacity to the Delhi DISCOMs as per their allocations from gas-based power plants under respective power purchase agreements (PPAs). If any DISCOMs resort to load shedding despite being power available as per the PPA, action would be initiated against them, the Power Ministry said.
In a separate release, the Coal Ministry said that the coal stock at power plants was 7.2 million tons, sufficient for four days. The stock at the Coal India-end was over 40 million tons.
Domestic coal-based power generation had grown by 24% till September this year. The daily average coal requirement at the power plants is about 1.85 million tons and supply around 1.75 million tons.
The Coal Ministry said that due to extended monsoons, the dispatches were constrained. The coal available at the power plants is a rolling stock that gets replenished by the supplies daily. “Therefore, any fear of coal stocks depleting at the power plant end is erroneous. This year, domestic coal supply has substituted imports by a substantial measure.”
Despite heavy rains in the coalfield areas, Coal India had supplied more than 255 million tons of coal to the power sector this year, which is the highest-ever first half (1H) supply to the power sector. Out of the total coal supply from all sources, the current supply to the power sector is over 1.4 million tons a day.
With the rains receding, the supply had increased to 1.5 million tons and was set to increase to more than 1.6 million tons per day by the end of October 2021. The supply from the Singareni Collieries Company and captive coal blocks would add another 300,000 tons a day, the Coal Ministry said.
Due to high international coal prices, the generation by power plants importing coal, even under PPAs, had reduced by almost 30%. In comparison, domestic-based power supply had gone up nearly 24% in 1H this year.
The Coal Ministry also said that the “comfortable coal position” in the country was reflected in Coal India supplying more than 200,000 tons daily to meet the demand of non-power industries like aluminum, cement, and steel.
Mercom had recently reported that India is seeing a surge in power demand, with industrial and economic activity picking up pace in the past few months. But thermal power plants are in a crisis as coal stocks are bottoming out. Coal accounts for about 70% of India’s power generation.
According to a report published by the energy think tank Ember and Climate Risk Horizons, India does not require additional coal capacity to meet its power demand by 2030. The report states that surplus coal plants can be scrapped without sacrificing the power infrastructure’s ability to meet future demand.
Arjun Joshi is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, he worked as a technical writer for enterprise resource software companies based in India and abroad. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Psychology, and Optional English from Garden City University, Bangalore. More articles from Arjun Joshi.