India extends imported coal power operations

01 Aug 2023

Amid soaring electricity demand, India's power ministry has instructed imported coal-based power plants to continue operating at maximum capacity until October. Initially set until June 15, the directive under section 11 of the Electricity Act was extended until September end. A surge in demand, reaching record levels of 234 GW on August 17, has been attributed to irrigation needs and humid weather, while wind power generation decrease and coal stock depletion have added to thermal capacity pressures.

Coal stocks at power plants fell from 34.9 million tonnes on August 1 to 31.8 million tonnes on August 21. Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi assured sufficient stock availability to meet increased demand. Despite monsoon-induced production slowdowns, imported coal-based power plants have contributed to meeting the higher demand.

Section 11 of the Electricity Act permits the government to direct a generating company to operate and maintain a station based on its directions during extraordinary circumstances. This approach was invoked last year due to constrained domestic coal supply.

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