Govt Taking Efforts to Enhance Coal Supply to Power Plants: Minister

The government is making sustained efforts to enhance coal production and supply of coal to thermal power plants, Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi said.

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In 2022-2023 (April 2022 to June 2022), all India average gap between the Energy Requirement and Energy Supplied was only one per cent. Gap between energy demand and supply is generally on account of factors other than inadequacy of power availability in the country, e.g. constraints in the distribution network, financial constraints, commercial reasons, forced outage of generating units, etc, the minister said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.

There is no shortage of coal in the country. The all India coal production in the year 2021-2022 was 778.19 Million Tonne (MT) in comparison to 716.083 MT in the year 2020-2021. Further, in the current financial year (upto June’22), the country has produced 204.876 MT of coal as compared to 156.11 MT during the same period of last year with a growth of about 31 per cent, Joshi informed the upper house of the parliament.

The Government on May 4, 2016 allowed States to use their coal in any private generating stations (IPPs) selected through e-bidding process and take equivalent power. The methodology named flexibility in utilization of domestic coal (Case-4) has been issued on February 20, 2017 by Ministry of Power.

Supercritical technology and Ultra Super-Critical Technology for thermal power generation having improved efficiency of thermal power stations have already been adopted. This will lead to a reduction in fossil fuel consumption and thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

As per Government approval, Annual Contracted Quantity (ACQ) per Mega Watt (MW) entitlement of all power plants, irrespective of age or technical parameters, shall be calculated based on normative station heat rate with upper ceiling of 2600 kcal/kwh. Accordingly, in view of efficient utilization of coal in efficient units, normative coal requirement of less efficient power plants with heat rate above 2600 Kcal/Kwh has been limited to coal corresponding to 2600 kcal/kwh, the minister said.

To address the issues of coal supplies to power sector, an Inter-Ministerial Sub Group comprising of representatives from Ministries of Power, Ministry of Coal, Ministry of Railways, CEA, CIL and SCCL meet regularly to take various operational decisions to enhance supply of coal to thermal power plants as well as for meeting any contingent situations relating to Power Sector including to alleviate critical coal stock position in power plants.

In addition to this, an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) has been constituted comprising of Chairman, Railway Board, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Secretary, Ministry of Power to monitor augmentation of coal supply and power generation capacity. Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Chairperson, CEA are co-opted as Special Invitees as and when required by the IMC. Coal dispatch from the captive coal blocks is also being monitored regularly.

Coal India Limited, the largest supplier of coal in the country, has dispatched 152.49 MT of coal to Power Sector in the first quarter of the current fiscal surpassing all the previous highs of the same period and achieving a growth of 19 per cent over last year same period.

Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) has dispatched 14.43 MT of coal to Power Sector in the first quarter of the current fiscal achieving a growth of 4.1 per cent over last year same period. As per Central Electricity Authority (CEA), coal stock at the power plants has improved from the level of 25.6 MT as on 31.03.2022 to 28.3 MT on 18.07.2022.

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