India is currently facing a massive shortage which has started impacting power generation in many states including Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu. Being the world’s largest coal consumer after China, the country is expected to face further outages as the coal shortage crisis is looming large.
While some states in the country have witnessed long power cuts, few other states are currently facing a blackout, and still, some other states are expected to be affected due to this fresh crisis.
In the wake of the crisis situation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah met his cabinet colleagues in charge of the coal and power ministries. The meeting, was attended by senior bureaucrats as well as officials from the state-run energy conglomerate NTPC Limited.
However, power consumption dipped by nearly 2 per cent or by 72 million units (MU) to 3,828 MU on Saturday compared to 3,900 MU on Friday, showing slight improvement in supply situation across the country amid coal shortage crisis, according to the power ministry data.
According to the data, the power consumption of 3,900 MU on Friday or October 8 was the highest this month so far (from October 1 to 9), which also became cause of concern among the ongoing coal shortage crisis in the country.
Although, the government is making efforts to increase investment in renewable energy, India is highly dependent on for it's electricity generation. Now, as the Indian states have been raising red flags over the looming coal crisis which may lead to the blackout.
The electricity generation target of thermal, hydro, nuclear & Bhutan import for the year 2021-22 has been fixed as 1356 Billion Unit (BU). i.e. growth of around 9.83% over actual generation of 1234.608 BU for the previous year (2020-21). The generation from above categories during 2020-21 was 1234.608 BU as compared to 1250.784 BU generated during 2019-20, representing a negative growth of about 1.29%.
The electricity generation target of Conventional Sources for the year 2021-22 was fixed at 1356 BU comprising of 1155.200 BU Thermal; 149.544 BU Hydro; 43.020 Nuclear; and 8.236 BU Import from Bhutan.
Here's a look at the total generation and growth over previous years in the country during 2009-10 to 2021-22:
What the government has to say?
Though several state governments and power suppliers have warned of blackouts due to low coal supply, the Union Coal Ministry said that India has adequate fuel stocks and "low inventory doesn't mean generation will stop as stock is being continuously replenished". It also said that the stocks being reported by power plants is a rolling stock, which means stocks are being replenished on a day by day basis.
"Core Management Team (CMT) set up Power Ministry is closely monitoring and managing coal stocks on daily basis and ensuring follow up actions with Coal India Limited, Railways to improve the coal supply to power plants," said the Union Power Ministry in a statement.
"Ministry of Coal and Coal India Limited have assured that they're making best efforts to increase dispatch to power sector to 1.6 MT/day in next 3 days and try to touch 1.7 MT/day. It's likely to help in gradual build up of coal stocks at power plants in near future," it added.