Sunday, May 22, 2022

Energy Crisis: Coal stock critical at 81 out of 150 thermal power plants, says AIPEF

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  • Coal inventories held by thermal power plants remain tight at nine days’ worth of stock as of mid-April and could result in power outages, said Dubey
  • Lack of railway rakes is also adding to the crisis. Presently, only 412 rakes are available as against the daily requirement of 453 rakes

New Delhi: Thermal power plants across the country are grappling with coal shortages, indicating a looming energy crisis in the country, said the All-India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF). Shailendra Dubey, Chairman of AIPEF, said that as per the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) latest daily coal report, coal stock at 81 out of a total of 150 thermal power stations using domestic coal is critical. The condition of the private sector thermal plants is equally bad as coal stock at 28 out of 54 plants is in a critical stage. 

“Thermal plants across the country are grappling with coal shortage as power demand in states has increased, and many of them are not able to bridge the gap between demand and supply because of insufficient coal stocks at thermal plants,” the AIPEF Chairman said in a statement.

Energy crisis: 9 days’ coal stock at thermal power plants

Coal inventories held by thermal power plants remain tight at nine days’ worth of stock as of mid-April and could result in power outages, said Dubey. If coal supplies do not improve, this could become another “stagflationary shock,” he said. Electricity demand has shot up due to the reopening of the economy and a rise in temperatures across the country as peak summer season approaches, but coal supply has been disrupted due to the reduced availability of railway rakes to transport coal and lower coal imports, CEA records show.

Dubey said coal shortages indicated an energy crisis in the making. He said in the northern region, the worst suffering states are Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and UP. In UP, the current coal stock will last only seven days, in Haryana coal stock is for eight days, Rajasthan has coal stock sufficient for 17 days as against the standard norm of 26 days. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are the other states facing a coal crisis. Lack of railway rakes is also adding to the crisis. Presently, only 412 rakes are available as against the daily requirement of 453 rakes.

The AIPEF Chairman said that although the Union Power Ministry has recommended the import of coal for blending up to 10 percent to ensure adequate stock when the power demand is at its peak in the next few months but due to blending of imported coal, the generation cost is likely to increase by 30 to 40 percent. Due to the war between Ukraine and Russia, the cost of imported coal has gone up from US$100 per tonne to US$300 per tonne.

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