India Sees Tight Power Supplies Amid Severe Coal Shortages

Heavy rain in key mining areas in India has caused a critical coal shortage and restricted supplies to several major coal-fired power plants in the nation that fuels 55% of its power capacity with coal.

Analysts noted on Monday that of 86 coal-fired power plants monitored by the government, 29 have fuel for less than four days, and 44 have fuel for less than seven days. The installed capacity of these 86 thermal power stations is 85,477 MW.

Some media outlets report that plants owned by the central government’s National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) have coal for just a day or two. That entity’s 13-day coal reserves of 5.3 metric tonnes have been severely depleted, and supply from state-owned Coal India for power plants is down to just 20%.

The Times of India reported that NTPC, India’s biggest generator, with a capacity of about 34 GW, is underperforming by nearly 4,000 MW due to coal shortages. Its power stations at Dadri in the National Capital Region, Singrauli and Unchahar in the northern region, Vindhyachal in Madhya Pradesh, Farakka and Kahalgaon in the eastern region, and Ramagundam and Simhadari in the south have been affected. A power project in Dehli, the Badarpur plant, cannot operate because of a water shortage after temporary closure of the Agra Canal.

Coal supply shortages have been worsened by strikes by Coal India employees, a derailment of a big consignment of coal, and floods in eastern states.

Power supplies have been threatened further by early onset of winter in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand, which is likely to hit production of hydro power from these states, leading to deficiency in the northern grid, The Hindu reported.

Sources: POWERnews, Daily News and Analysis, The Times of India, The Hindu

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