Power Minister Requests Imported Coal-Based Plants To Operate At Maximum Capacity Through September 30

In order to prevent a power shortfall despite growing demand in the nation, the Ministry of Power on Monday extended the deadline for all thermal plants utilising imported coal to run at full capacity by three and a half months, until September 30.

On June 9, 2023, the maximum supply in a day, or the peak power demand, reached a record high of 223.23 GW.

In a notification sent on Monday to 15 thermal power projects using imported coal, the electricity ministry said that “it has now been decided to extend the time period for Section 11 to imported coal-based generators up to September 30, 2023.”

Invoking Section 11 of the Electricity Act 2003, the ministry demanded earlier in February that these imported coal-based plants run at full capacity from March 16, 2023, to June 15, 2023, in order to prevent any outages brought on by an unexpected increase in demand for electricity.

This summer’s peak electricity consumption was predicted to reach a new high of 229 GW. Unseasonal rains had an impact on demand, however, since fewer people used electricity-hungry cooling devices like air conditioners.

Included in the list of 15 imported coal-based (ICB) power plants are the Tata Power and Adani Power facilities in the Gujarati city of Mundra, the Essar facility in Salaya, the JSW Ratnagiri, the Tata Trombay, the Udupi Power, the Meenakshi Energy, and the JSW Torangallu.

Peak electricity consumption for the nation is anticipated to reach 230GW in 2023.

Alok Kumar, the union’s electricity secretary, said that the administration will take all feasible steps to satisfy the 230 GW single-day peak demand in December 2022.

In a notice sent to imported coal-based (ICB) plants in February, the ministry noted that, given the likelihood of a gap between domestic coal demand and supply and the necessity of maintaining coal stocks at generating stations, it is necessary to increase the use of imported coal by blending it with domestic fuel in domestic coal-based plants and by ensuring maximum output from ICB plants.

It had been observed that doing so would relieve strain on the domestic coal supply and guarantee that all the facilities are operational at the time of greatest demand.

The government has made provisions for both the selling of surplus electricity in exchanges as well as the pass-through of increased import coal costs.

Additionally, a new High Price-Day Ahead Market category was introduced this year to enable ICB plants, gas-based plants, and battery energy storage projects to sell electricity at exchanges for up to Rs 50 per unit.

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