India is facing shortage of coal. According to the officials of power ministry, on 1 October, 72 Indian coal projects were left with three days of stocks and electricity can be generated of 10 days by 13 projects.
After the second wave, demand of electricity increased by 10-18%. Now plants are facing shortage of coal. This may force power plants to buy coal from foreign, which may lead to the higher prices of electricity and fuel. India is already facing a hike in the prices of fuel.
According to power ministry, heavy rainfall in the month of September, around the coal mining area led to the reduced production and then failing it to deliver. Stocks of coal are also at low.
As per CRISIL report, “Power demand has seen a robust recovery after the second wave of covid-19. As of August this fiscal, it was up 16% year-on-year and 3% over the corresponding period of fiscal 2020, or the pre-pandemic level.”
The power ministry official said, “The unprecedented increase in coal-based power coupled with supply shortage during monsoon and less stock build-up in Apr-June,2021 has led to the depletion of coal stocks in power plants which were 13 days (23.97 MT) as on 1 Aug 2021 and now 4 days (8.08 MT) as on 1 Sept 2021. Out of 135 power plants monitored on daily basis, 72 plants have coal stocks of less than 3 days, 50 plants have stocks from 4 to 10 days and 13 plants have stock of more than 10 days.”
He further added, “Power consumption for the period August-September has progressively increased from 106.6 BU per month in 2019 (non-covid year) to 124.2 BU per month in 2021. During this period the share of coal-based generation has also increased from 61.91% in 2019 to 66.35% in 2021. As a consequence, total coal consumption in the month of August-Sept, 2021 has increased by 18% in comparison to corresponding period in 2019.”
“So far in the last 10 years, maximum domestic coal supplied was 582 MT in FY 2018-19 and with imported coal of 61.7 MT, total receipt was 643.7 MT leading to the highest consumption of 628.9 MT in any FY. Ministry of Coal (MoC) and CIL were informed on 08.04.2021 about requirement of 678 MT domestic coal and 45.3 MT of imported coal in FY 2021-22 with total coal requirements of 723.3 MT,” he further said.
The largest consumer of coal in India is power sector whereas the largest miner of fossil fuel is CIL (Coal India Ltd).
All this may cause a problem for a nation which is already dealing with high prices of fuel. People may have to suffer power cuts due to this crisis.