KATHMANDU: Inflicted by a constant rise in the price of coal in the international market, India is facing an energy crisis in the domestic power market.
Due to the months-long Russia-Ukraine war, the price of imported coal has led to an energy crisis. The thermal power plants operating in various states of the southern neighborhood have been reducing the period of electricity generation. There is a 1.4 percent decrease in the total energy demand in power generation due to the lack of coal supply. The shortage of coal in 100 of the 173 thermal power plants operating across India has been reported.
The power generation of the thermal power plants operating in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh has been reduced by 3 to 8.7 percent.
This year, before the month of April, the high demand for electricity has reached its highest point in 38 years and there is a reduction in electricity production due to the shortage of coal, said Energy Minister RK Singh. As the thermal power plant cannot run at full capacity due to the lack of coal, the impact of the electricity crisis has started to affect the industry, factory production, and business. In October 2021, 1.1 percent of the total demand for electricity was insufficient, and by April 2022, this amount had increased to 1.4 percent.
“There should not be a coal crisis now. However, due to the high demand for electricity on the one hand and the reduction in production due to the shortage of coal, on the other hand, there has been a situation where electricity has to be cut in some states,’ he said. He said that electricity is being cut due to the lack of supply of coal compared to the increase in electricity demand.
In India, electricity is consumed more during summer. Due to the shortage of coal, it is suspected that the energy crisis will increase in the summer months of this year. Thermal power plants operating in various states are facing a shortage of coal. As the coal stored for operating these thermal power plants is running out, the duration of power cuts is expected to increase.
The Central Electricity Authority has said that thermal power plants currently have only 35 percent coal reserves of the requirement. Energy Secretary Alok Kumar said that to meet the demand for electricity till December 2022, an agreement has been reached to import coal for some thermal power plants by carrying the excess load to the consumers.
India has been producing 70 percent of its total installed capacity from coal-based thermal power plants. Despite increasing investment in solar energy systems to meet the goal of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2070, the dependence on coal has not been reduced.