New Delhi: In the backdrop of supply chain disruptions, restrictions on movement and unavailability of labour caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, India's thermal capacity addition was at its lowest in FY21 in a decade. According to data sourced from the Ministry of Power, against a target of 10,591.15 MW, India added just 4,926.15 MW of coal-fired power plants. The news comes days after Coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain said that new thermal power plants (TPPs) are not on the horizon for India, but existing ones will continue to meet India's growing power demand with a higher Plant Load Factor (PLF).
Official data showed that thermal capacity addition of 1,590 MW was recorded in March as three thermal power plants were commissioned by TSGENCO, NTPC and NPGCL in the month. The Unit 3 of Bhadradri TPP of 270 MW (TSGENCO), Stage-II Unit 6 of Tanda TPS with a capacity of 660 MW (NTPC) and Nabinagar STPP, Unit 2 of capacity 660 MW (NPGCL) were commissioned in Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, respectively.
Between FY2012-13 and FY2015-16, thermal capacity addition under the 12th plan exceeded annual targets year after year and also registered an increase year-on-year. However, coal-fired power capacity addition in India has been on the decline since FY2016-17. The difference between the targeted capacity addition and actual capacity has been growing steadily as India pivots away from coal-based energy.
In 2016-17, India added 11,550.75 MW against a target of 13,440.5 MW, thermal capacity addition for 2017-18 stood at 8,710 MW against a target of 11,366.15 MW, in 2018-19, the figure dipped further to 5,781.755 MW against a target of 7,266.15 MW and settled marginally higher in 2019-20 at 6,765 MW against a target of 10,296.15 MW. However, the decline in capacity addition in FY2020-21 is the biggest decline so far as the actual capacity addition falls short of the target by over 50 percent.