- The number of power plants with less than three days’ stock of coal has also risen from 72 on September 30 to 75 (of capacity 91,655 MW) on October 4
- The latest data released by the CEA shows that 108 TPPs of capacity 132.229 GW have less than seven days’ coal stock
New Delhi: The number of thermal power plants (TPPs) with zero coal stock has risen to 16, as on October 4, fresh data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) shows. In addition, the number of power plants with less than three days’ stock of coal has also risen from 72 on September 30 to 75 (of capacity 91,655 MW) on October 4, the data reveals. While 25 TPPs have a days’ coal stock, 20 have two days of stock and 14 have three days of coal stock. The cumulative capacity of these 75 power plants which have less than three days’ fuel left with them is 91,655 MW.
According to the CEA, India’s total installed power generation capacity stands at 383.37 GW, out of which coal accounts for 202.67 GW.
Sudden spurt in power demand caused depletion of coal stock
Led by a revival in economic activities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last week of August has seen a sudden spurt in power demand, which is unprecedented. This has spurred the consumption of coal by TPPs. At the beginning of August, a total of 23 thermal power plants of capacity 32,712 MW had less than eight days’ coal stock. However, due to a sudden jump in power demand, a total of 68 plants of capacity 89,037 MW had less than eight days’ coal stock. Out of these, 46 TPPs had less than three days’ coal stock.
The latest data released by the CEA shows that 108 TPPs of capacity 132.229 GW have less than seven days’ coal stock. As on September 30, the number of such TPPs was 104 with a total capacity of 126.819 GW.
Low coal stock crisis
Generally, state-run miner Coal India Ltd (CIL) builds up coal inventories at power utilities during the first quarter but the Covid-19 pandemic posed a hindrance to this, and extra stocking was not possible. Compounding the woes, extended monsoon at coalfield areas interrupted production and supplies. Primarily, what precipitated the situation was the unforeseen escalation in the power generation from the second week of August and the insatiable appetite for coal. Along with this, as global coal prices increased, thermal power plants which were relying on imported coal for power generation reduced their import orders and instead shifted their orders to CIL. All of these factors have contributed to a shortage of coal in thermal power plants in India.
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