While many states in the north are facing power crises due to coal shortages, Karnataka is in a happy and comfortable position selling excess power to the grid.
According to energy department records, from April 1 to April 20, Karnataka sold 82 MU of power earning Rs 79 crore in revenue. Of this, between April 13 and 20 this year, at the height of the power crisis that gripped many states, 53 MU power was sold adding Rs 60 crore to the state exchequer.
Karnataka does not have a power crisis as the state meets over half of its energy requirements through renewable sources which account for 52% of the state’s power needs, followed by thermal, hydro and nuclear at 34%, 12% and 3%, respectively.
State government data shows the higher generation of power from renewable sources and better diversification of energy have helped the state tide over the coal crisis.
Karnataka is at the bottom of the list of the coal-dependent states for power generation. The state has three thermal power plants -- Ballari, Raichur and Yeramarus. But the coal requirement is minimal.
“We need coal only to run and maintain the baseload of power, 8,000- 9,000 MW on a daily basis, which comes down to 4,000- 5,000 MW during monsoon, in all the three thermal power plants,” said an official.
“If we do not sell power, we will have to switch off the thermal units, as renewable energy sources cannot be shut down. Also, to restart thermal units requires double the coal and it will take 12-18 hours,” a senior energy department official told the media.
However, industries often complain of power cuts. Additional Chief Secretary, Energy Department, G Kumar Naik said there is no shortage of power in the state, but the power cuts are due to technical transmission glitches by the distribution agencies.