Birds fly next to electricity pylons on a smoggy afternoon in the old quarters of Delhi, India, October 30, 2019. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo
CHENNAI, Sept 1 (Reuters) – India’s coal-fired power generation rose 23.7% in August due to a steep increase in electricity demand, an analysis of power grid data showed, pushing the government to ask utilities to import coal despite having the world’s fourth largest reserves.
Data from the Central Electricity Authority showed over half of the 135 coal-fired power plants had less than a week’s supply of coal left, of which 50 plants had less than three days of coal left. Six plants had run out of coal. read more
Overall electricity generation rose 16.1% in August from a year earlier, a Reuters analysis of daily load despatch data by federal grid regulator POSOCO showed.
Coal-fired power accounts for more than 70% of India’s electricity generation, with state-run Coal India Ltd (COAL.NS) accounting for more than four-fifths of coal production.
“Thermal power plants, which may import coal for blending, may explore (ways) to enhance imports of coal to tide over the current crisis,” the power ministry said in a Aug. 30 notice, seen by Reuters.
India, the world’s second biggest coal importer, mainly imports from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa. The government has been seeking to cut imports.
In the first eight months of 2021, coal-fired electricity generation rose by 19.3%, faster than a 14.5% growth in renewable energy generation, POSOCO data showed.
The share of coal-fired generation in the period rose to 72.9%, in line with 2019 levels but above the 69.2% in the same period of 2020. Overall power use tumbled in 2020 amid coronavirus lockdowns but has surged as restrictions have eased.
A power ministry official said the installation of new renewable power sources had been slower than expected, at a time when power demand had risen more 13%.
“Some states which have signed expensive green energy have also been buying power from exchanges,” said the official, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak publicly.
Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Kim Coghill and Edmund Blair
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