Govt steps up efforts to meet peak summer power demand without outages

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) The government has stepped up its efforts to ensure that the electricity demand in the upcoming peak summer season is met in the country without any outages.

At a meeting held on Tuesday, Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh, reviewed the power capacity status of all the thermal power plants experiencing partial outages to ensure maximum availability of thermal capacity.

He has also directed that the planned maintenance of thermal plants be shifted from the summer months to the monsoon season so that more power is available during the peak season.

This is expected to make available as much as 1.7 GW of additional power in April and 6 GW-9 GW in June.

The Minister also held a meeting with the power generation companies and reviewed the status of 5.2 GW of non-operational thermal capacity.

Besides these, capacity additions in coal, hydro, nuclear, solar, and wind would be monitored to expedite their commissioning.

The Minister also emphasised the need for ensuring zero load-shedding during the summer season.

At a meeting held in the third week of March, it was stressed that adequate planning should be done by all the stakeholders to prevent a situation in which one state has surplus power while another state faces power shortages.

It has also been decided to explore the possibility of harnessing any surplus power, which may be available with captive generating stations.

All thermal power generating stations have been directed to offer their un-requisitioned / surplus power in power exchanges, as mandated by the recently notified rules. It has been directed that compliance needs to be monitored regularly and notices issued for violation of directions.

The NTPC raised the issue of infeasible power scheduling by the various Discoms.

The Minister directed that uniform technical minimum loading of 55 per cent of unit capacity may be mandated for all coal-based power generators as has been implemented for Inter-State Generating Stations and Regional Load Despatch Centres. This is aimed at ensuring technical minimum conditions while issuing schedules and for the safety and reliability of the grid.

It has also been decided that, considering the energy provided by imported coal-based power plants will also be directed to keep up production under Section 11 till 30th September, 2024.

For the upcoming summer season, the Indian Metrological Department (IMD) has projected higher-than-normal maximum and minimum temperatures across the country, except over some isolated areas of Northwest, Northeast, Central and Peninsular India.

The electricity demand would also hence be higher than in previous years, which is reflected also in the rising trend of peak demand in recent months, during both solar hours and non-solar hours.

The peak energy demand has been growing in recent years, but the expansion in power generation has also increased. Relative to the year 2022-23, the energy requirement grew by 7.5 per cent in 2023-24 and the energy availability grew by 7.8 per cent, resulting in a reduction in total energy shortfall from 0.5 per cent in 2022-23 to 0.2 per cent in 2023-24.

As regards coal-based electricity alone, the total energy generated grew in 2023-24 by 10 per cent relative to 2022-23. Out of this, the energy generated from domestic coal-based power plants grew by 6.5 per cent while that generated from imported-coal-based power plants grew by as much as 104 per cent.



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