- India’s electricity demand was recorded at an all-time high of 2,10,792 MW on June 9
- RK Singh said connectivity has been provided to thousands of villages that have not seen electricity in 70 years
- The current coal shortage in India is the result of domestic production not keeping pace with the demand.
India’s electricity demandPower Minister RK Singh has said that India’s electricity demand has increased by a record 40,000-45,000 MW per day in the year 2022, as a heat wave sweeps northern parts of the country, expanding the economy and killing millions of homes. Electricity reaches till, Power Minister RK Singh has said. ,
He said that during the eight years of the Modi government the huge increase in generation capacity, integrating the country into a transmission grid and strengthening the distribution system is ensuring 23 to 23.5 hours of power supply.
India’s electricity demand on June 9 recorded an all-time high of 2,10,792 MW, with 4,712 million units of electricity consumed.
To meet this demand, power plants are working in full swing and the government has ordered import of coal to meet the shortfall in domestic supply.
“The entire power sector has changed (in the last 8 years),” Singh said.
“Before (2014), we were power crunched, load shedding was endemic”.
According to a survey by an NGO, the average availability of electricity at the national level in rural areas was around 12.5 hours.
“Today is 22.5 hours,” he said.
A power deficit country with an average shortfall of 17 to 20 per cent, India has turned into a power surplus country.
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Detailing the steps, he said that in 8 years, 1,69,000 MW of capacity was added to take the power generation capacity to over 4,00,000 MW (or 400 GW). In comparison, the peak demand is just 215 GW.
Power plants operate at a much lower run rate than their capacity. In the case of renewable energy units such as solar power, this is only one-fifth of the rated capacity.
Also, after laying 1.66 lakh circuit kilometers of transmission lines, the entire country was connected to a single grid with one frequency. This was supplemented by strengthening the distribution system with replacement of old lines, adding high and low tension lines, transformers, substations and feeder lines.
“Today, India is the largest single-frequency electricity grid in the world,” he said.
“Earlier, we could transfer about 37,000 MW (of electricity) from one corner to another. Now we can transfer 1,12,000 MW.”
Net result: Availability of electricity has increased.
“Our system says that the availability is now 23 hours on an average in rural areas and it is around 23.5 hours in urban areas,” the minister said.
Singh said thousands of villages and habitations that did not see electricity for 70 years were provided connectivity. At least 28.6 million un-electrified households – more than the combined population of Germany and France – were provided with electricity.
However, domestic production of coal—the feedstock for most of the electricity produced in the country—has kept pace with the uptick in demand.
The minister said power plants have been asked to use 10 per cent imported coal for their power generation requirements.
Of the 204.9 GW of installed coal-fired power generation capacity in India, about 17.6 GW, or 8.6 percent, is designed to run exclusively on imported coal. Other power plants import the fuel for blending with domestic coal.
He said that Coal India Limited has already floated tender for import of coal.
What is the reason behind the shortage of coal?
The current coal shortage is the result of domestic production not keeping pace with the demand.
“The production of domestic coal has increased but not to that extent. Therefore, the net result was that our reserve stock in power plants was 24 million tonnes on April 1 and further decreased to 19 million tonnes on April 30. On May 15, 15 million tonnes,” he said, adding that states have also been asked to import coal.
Singh said the government is working to move domestic coal to power plants, as well as an imported coal to prepare for the monsoon season when production from local mines falls short.
In addition to fossil fuel-based electricity generation capacity, there has been an increase in renewable capacity.
“India had promised that by 2030, 40 percent of our capacity would be non-fossil fuel based. We achieved this target nine years ago in November 2021,” he said.
“Today, the installed renewable capacity is 1,58,000 MW and another 54,000 MW is under construction”.
He added that with a nuclear capacity of 6,000 MW, the total renewable capacity comes to 1,65,000 MW – which is 41 per cent of the installed capacity.
(with PTI inputs)