Energy demand in India has seen a steady increase in recent years, but this growth has not been accompanied by an adequate supply of domestic coal, leading to a rapid decline in coal stocks at power plants. of national coal (CCN) throughout the country. In fact, the gap between the receipt of domestic coal and its consumption, including the corresponding amount of imported coal, from September 1 to October 9, 2023 has reached a staggering 12 million tons.
A major factor contributing to this widening gap is the decline in hydropower generation in the first half of fiscal year 2023, which is down approximately 11% compared to the same period last year. The Ministry of Energy attributes this decrease to variable monsoon rains, which have adversely affected hydropower capacity. The recent floods in Sikkim have also resulted in about 2 GW of hydropower capacity going offline. In addition, the reservoir levels in the North, East and South regions are lower compared to the previous year, which has led to a decrease in the energy content of reservoirs nationwide.
As a result, pressure on coal-based thermal power generation has intensified. The declining availability of hydropower has forced greater reliance on coal-fired thermal power plants to meet the increasing demand for electricity. This situation highlights the need for a more balanced and sustainable energy production mix that reduces the country’s dependence on a single energy source. Encouraging the development of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, along with investment in more efficient storage solutions, will be crucial to solving this problem.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Question: What is causing the decline in coal stocks at domestic coal plants in India?
A: The insufficient supply of domestic coal, combined with the growth in energy demand in the country, is causing the rapid decline in coal stocks at domestic coal plants.
Q: Why has hydropower generation declined in India?
A: The decline in hydropower generation is mainly due to variability in monsoon rainfall and recent floods in Sikkim, which have taken approximately 2GW of hydropower capacity offline.
Q: How does the decline in hydropower generation affect coal-fired thermal generation?
A: With the decline in hydropower availability, there is greater reliance on coal-fired thermal power plants to meet the growing demand for electricity, putting further pressure on coal-fired thermal generation.