Shortage of coal, gas to hit power sector

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Nov 2 2009, 06:42am hrs
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy has expressed concerns over the coal and gas shortages faced by countrys power sector.

Shortfall in indigenous coal availability would be 46 million tonne in 2010-11 and 74 million tonne in 2011-12 while gas requirement at 90% plant load factor would be 17.38 million metric standard cubic metres per day (mmscmd) by 2011-12.

Cutting across political parties, the committee members at a meeting held on October 26 and 27 called upon the power ministry to make all-out efforts for increasing coal and gas supplies to ramp up generation.

A committee member told FE, The deficit in the coal supply has resulted in a generation loss of 4,979 million units comprising 3,748 million units by NTPC, 1,220 million units by MahaGenco and 11 million units by Bihar State Electricity Board. As on October 19, out of total 79 thermal power stations monitored by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 29 power stations were critical having coal stock for less than 7 days and 16 of these were super critical with coal stock less than 4 days. The total stock at thermal power stations was 8.842 million tonne (9 days) against the normative requirement of 22 million tonne. The problem is quite serious when there is a peak shortage of 12% and energy deficit of 10% in the country.

A power ministry official said, the 11th Plan Working Group on coal had indicated the availability of indigeneous coal from Coal India in 2011-12 as 382 million tonne. However, according to the latest indications from CIL, coal supply is likely to reach 360 million tonne, which calls for import of about 49 million tonne to bridge the gap of 74 million tonne between demand and supply of indigenous coal. In addition, import of 19 million tonne would be needed by imported coal-based power projects during 2011-12.

Thus, the total requirement for import of coal in 2011-12 would be around 68 million tonne. The commitee and power ministry were unanimous that matching growth in coal supply is needed when coal based generation envisaged to grow by around 10%. The ministry has planned 1 lakh mw capacity in the 12th Plan out of which 75,200 mw is likely to be thermal.