No power crisis, coal shortage; Kerala has nothing to worry: Central minister
Kozhikode: Ruling out any possibility of a power crisis reportedly looming large in India, Krishan Pal, Minister of State for Power, told Mathrubhumi.com that such rumours are well beyond reality as the nation is not in a coal shortage or power crisis.
“The reports of such crises are pointless. We have enough stock of coal at our plants and more will be stocked soon. All states, including Kerala, will continue getting power without losing even a single unit. The media reports have panicked public of a possible power crisis affecting their lives. Nothing to be worried about. There were some issues associated with the transportation of coal due to various reasons and it would not affect production. We have cleared all the issues,” said the minister.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Coal reassured that ample coal is available in the country to meet the demand of power plants. The coal stock at power plants is about 72-lakh tonnes, sufficient for the requirement of four days, and that the Coal India Limited (CIL) is more than 400-lakh tonnes, which is being supplied to the power plants.
The domestic coal based power generation has grown by nearly 24% in this year (till September 2021) based on a robust supply from the coal companies. The daily average coal requirement at the power plants is about 18.5-lakh tonnes of coal per day whereas the daily coal supply has been around 17.5-lakh tonnes per day.
Due to extended monsoons the despatches were constrained. The coal available at the power plants is a rolling stock which gets replenished by the supplies from the coal companies on a daily basis. Therefore, as per reliable sources any fear of coal stocks getting exhausted at the power plants is erroneous. In fact, this year, domestic coal supply has substituted imports by a substantial measure.
Despite heavy rains in the coal field areas, CIL had supplied more than 255 MT coal to power sector in this year which is the highest ever H-1 supply from CIL to power sector. Out of the total coal supply from all sources, present coal supply from CIL to power sector is more than 14-lakh tonnes per day and with the receding rains, this supply has already increased to 15-lakh tonnes and is set to increase to more than 16-lakh tonnes per day by the end of October 2021. The supply from SCCL and captive coal blocks shall contribute to another 3 lakhs plus tonnes of coal every day.
According to the available data, India holds 107,727 million tonnes of proven coal reserves and is the fifth largest in the world. It means it has 111 years of coal left to be consumed at the current consumption levels, excluding unproven reserves. Coal India Limited meets nearly 90 percent of India’s total coal needs and is a major importer too. ''We import coal to meet less than 10 percent of the needs as is locally procured to meet indegenous demands. We have rich coal mines to meet our needs for many more decades. When this is the fact, reports of a coal shortage is no way connected to the reality,'' said one of the senior officials with KSEB requesting anonymity.
No need for power cut in Kerala: KSEB engineers
Kozhikode: Amid the reports of a power crisis looming large in India, a section of engineers from Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has come up questioning the basis of such reports. They said the state has been attaining self-sufficiency in power production and there is no need for power cut or load shedding in the present situation.
The average power requirements of Kerala per day is 3700MW; of which 600MW is purchased from thermal plants in other states and Centre provides 1200MW. A total of 1600MW is produced from our hydro-electric power plants. In total, we get 3400MW power against the need of 3700MW. The shortage of 300MW is managed by KSEB.
However, the engineers say this shortage has nothing to do with the current national crisis. “In fact, this shortage has been there for months now and not an issue to be highlighted like this amid the reports of a crisis. We have 83 percent water in all our dams. By hiking production, we can easily manage it. After all, we have a stock of power to run for many more days. By October 20, Moolamattam generator will become operational after maintenance with a production capacity of 130MW. Nearly 20 mini projects are on the verge of commissioning and it will boost production by nearly 200MW. We have a thermal plant in Kayamkulam that can also be operated in case of an emergency production,” said an official of KSEB.
In extreme cases, KSEB buys electricity from power exchange at a price of Rs20 per unit. “It is little costly and we don’t have to go for it in the present situation. The Kayamkulam thermal plant, that runs on Nafta, can be made operational before going for it.”
“From Koodamkulam, we are supposed to get 266MW electricity per day. However, we have not got the agreed quantity for the last few months due to some issues. Very soon we will continue getting the exact quantity of power and it will land us in a safer position.”
“We have nearly a hundred generators producing electricity relentlessly at our 47 hydro-electric projects across the state. Usually, we spare one generator at every plant for routine maintenance and it can be avoided. In crisis we have a number of options to meet our needs. .”
"There are around 107 new hydro-electric projects, including Athirappally project, on the anvil. Once at least a half-of-these become operational, we will export electricity. In fact, we are steadily progressing in the energy sector. We produce electricty to meet 40 percent of our needs. It was just 30 percent a few years ago. The day we achieve 100 percent production is not a distant dream or far away.”