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Shortage of Coal Supply in India’s Thermal Plants

According to a recent report, India’s thermal plants are experiencing a critical shortage of coal supply. The country’s largest thermal power generation company, NTPC Ltd, revealed that its power plants only have enough coal for 8.5 days. This is well below the government’s recommended norms, which suggest maintaining 20 to 26 days of coal for plants not located near mines, and 12 to 17 days for power plants located near mines.

The lack of coal supply is attributed to a combination of factors. Low production caused by the monsoon season, supply problems due to logistical constraints and a constant demand for power even at night when renewable energy sources are less efficient due to lack of storage solutions have contributed to the problem.

The situation is particularly worrisome given NTPC’s significant role in India’s thermal power generation. With 27 coal-based power plants, NTPC is the largest thermal power generation company in the country with an installed capacity of 52,610 MW. In addition, the company has joint ventures and subsidiaries that operate nine additional coal-fired power plants, providing an additional capacity of 7,664 MW.

The shortage of coal supply extends beyond NTPC plants and affects thermal plants across India. Recent data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) revealed that coal-fired power plants reached their lowest inventory levels of the year totaling 18.6 million tonnes (MT) on 28 October.

Although the situation remains challenging, there is hope for improvement as increased coal production is expected in the coming months. With favorable weather conditions and the end of the monsoon season, coal stocks are expected to gradually recover.

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