Coal crisis in power plants, government seeks to increase storage and transport capacity


INCREASE coal storage capacity and deploy more railcars and rakes – these are among the long and short term measures the government will take to alleviate the critical shortage of coal stock in thermal power plants and to ensure that the capacity transport and storage of coal in factories increases in the future.

As coal stocks were depleted to critical levels at a number of thermal power plants, three relevant ministries met on Tuesday and defined the various measures.

With the monsoon affecting production at several Coal India wells, a number of power plants have stocks that would last them for around a week, officials said. To remedy the situation, the Ministers of Coal, Energy and Railways decided that in the future, power plants far from coal sources would work to increase their storage capacity.

The cumulative coal stock of thermal power plants is currently 10 million tonnes, which is enough for about six days, according to official data. Coal India Limited’s coal stock is 45 million tonnes, which is sufficient for 25 days. According to the official assessment, there is no shortage of domestic charcoal at the moment. So far, Coal India Limited’s supply to the power sector has been 231 MT, which is the highest.

It was discussed during the meeting that with the monsoon rains there is a deficit of 17% in the coal load compared to the target, and a resulting deficit of 12% in the electricity sector. . This has not only been reflected in the shortage of coal in power plants, but due to the reduction in the load in the non-electric sector, the industry is in distress, it was discussed, sources said. .

The plan now is to project the demand for coal for the power sector over 5 and 10 years and work accordingly. In addition, the railways have also been urged to rationalize coal freight rates, which are the highest currently.

According to the data, the coal stock has reached a “super critical” level to last less than four days of production at 47 thermal power plants. At 38 plants, it has reached “critical” levels where the stacked coal is expected to last less than seven days. There are 10 plants located more than 1,500 km from the coal source which now have a stock of less than nine days’ value.

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