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A quarter of India’s power generation capacity has been shut down, mainly due to fuel shortages

A quarter of India's power generation capacity has been shut down, mainly due to fuel shortages - (A)

A quarter of India’s power generation capacity has been shut down, mainly due to fuel shortages.

At a time when Idia’s electricity demand is growing at its fastest rate in decades, almost a quarter of all installed thermal, nuclear and hydroelectric capacity is being shut down.

According to the monitoring report of the Central Electricity Authority, on April 20, 72,074.14 megawatts (MW) of thermal, nuclear, and hydroelectric energy were closed. This is almost 25% of the total monitored capacity of 289,581.24 MW. CEA’s monitored capacity includes thermal, hydroelectric, and nuclear power plants, but excludes 110 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy.

At the beginning of April, the total capacity was 66,534.31 MW, but fuel shortages triggered more units.

“Most of the closures are due to the lack of coal in the power plants. Coal India’s coal supply is inadequate and it lacks transportation infrastructure. The other big problem is that some nightclubs are delaying payments, which means producers can’t buy enough coal to run their power plants.”

Of the 72,074.14 MW of units that were not in operation as of April 20, only 9,744.85 MW are stopped due to scheduled maintenance. The CEA said that 38,826.20 MW of capacity are “forced”, while another 23,503.09 MW are shut down for other reasons.

Power plants are typically shut down for pre-planned annual maintenance, taking into account the demand cycle. “Forced” shutdowns refer to shutdowns by power plants for unforeseen reasons related to fuel shortages, the utility’s reluctance to buy expensive electricity, technical problems, or damage to utility equipment.

Low fuel alarm

Indian power plants have been hit hard by coal shortages, although industrial demand has been strong and rising temperatures have boosted household demand. As of April 20, 86 of the 150 domestic coal-fired power plants had extremely low coal readings. The seriousness of the situation is demonstrated by the fact that in just two days, between April 18 and 20, five more units slipped below critical values. Most of these units cite a low supply of coal from Coal India Ltd and a lack of rakes for transport as the main reasons.

Another 11 imported coal-fired power plants also had critical levels of coal.

In a meeting with imported coal-fired power plants (ICBs) on April 12, Minister of Energy and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh said that a capacity of 7,980 MW of ICB power plants was not operational. , which caused an increase in the demand for national coal and thus increased the pressure on the logistics of the national supply of coal. The ministry urged imported coal-fired power plants to work on time, and also recommended power generation companies import coal to blend up to 10% to ease the supply burden.

“There are more than 20,000 MW of gas-based capacity sitting idle due to fuel shortages; The generators are forced to receive gas, but they are still waiting. When these units start to work, it will be important. But the challenge is importing gas domestically and then distributing it among the states.”



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