Private power plants’ PLF seen rising in FY19 on CEA estimate

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New Delhi | Published: April 3, 2018 4:53:42 AM

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has set the electricity generation target from conventional sources, which include coal, gas, nuclear and hydro power plants, at 126,000 million units (MU) for FY19, 6.7% higher than power produced from these sources in FY18.

uttar pradesh, cea, power sector, power industryUttar Pradesh is expected to produce 129,423 MU of power, the highest in the country. It would be followed by Maharashtra at 132,643 MU and Chhattisgarh at 111,858 MU.

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has set the electricity generation target from conventional sources, which include coal, gas, nuclear and hydro power plants, at 126,000 million units (MU) for FY19, 6.7% higher than power produced from these sources in FY18.

In order to achieve this target, state and private power plants would have to raise their annual production by 9.2% and 13.4%, respectively, while generation from central government-owned plants would slip by 0.7%, data from the CEA report showed.
The estimate sounds positive for private power plants which are running at very low utilisation levels due to less-than-expected growth in power demand. The plant load factor (PLF) for central government-owned thermal power plants in FY18 was 72.4%, while private power plants were running at 55.1% in the same period.

PLFs of less than 60% make it difficult to service debts. Stressed assets in the power sector consist of 34 private power plants with an outstanding debt of Rs 1.74 lakh crore.

The power generation programme was designed on the actual power generation trends from previous years, planned maintenance schedules and new capacity additions anticipated in the new financial year, the statutory body said. Import from Bhutan is expected to remain unchanged at 5BU in FY 19.

Uttar Pradesh is expected to produce 129,423 MU of power, the highest in the country. It would be followed by Maharashtra at 132,643 MU and Chhattisgarh at 111,858 MU.

Although renewable energy units (mainly solar and wind) have rampantly been added in the past few years, currently 19% of the total installed generation capacity, their real contribution to the country’s electricity generation remains very low. Renewables produced only 75,606 MU, or 7% of total power generated in the country in the first 11 months of FY18.

Given the irregular and unpredictable nature of solar and wind power, coupled with electricity storage prices remaining high, coal-based power is being seen to be the viable electricity source for at least another couple of decades. The government has decided to have 175,000 MW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022, and use 40% of energy requirement through renewable sources by 2030.

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