Government Outlines Strategy to Meet Upcoming Peak Power Demand
April is likely to see power demand touching 229 GW during April
The Ministry of Power has devised a comprehensive strategy to ensure the availability of power during the summer.
In a meeting chaired by the Union Power Minister, R.K.Singh, the government outlined several steps that would be undertaken to meet the growing power demands in the coming months.
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) estimates that the peak electricity demand will reach 229 GW during April.
The all-India peak power demand had touched an all-time high of 201.1 GW on April 26, 2022, surpassing the peak power demand of 200.5 GW met on July 7, 2021.
As part of the strategy, the power utilities have been instructed to conduct maintenance for coal-based power plants well in advance to avoid scheduled maintenance during the crunch period.
Under Section-11 of the Electricity Act, directions have already been issued to all imported coal-based plants to operate at full capacity starting from March 16, 2023. Adequate coal supplies would be provided to the coal-based power plants.
The Ministry of Railways has agreed to allocate 418 railcars to various subsidiaries of Coal India and captive blocks and will increase the number to maintain sufficient coal stocks at power plants.
To meet any peak demand, gas-based power will also be utilized.
The Power Ministry has instructed NTPC to operate its 5,000 MW gas-based power stations during April and May. Other entities will add 4,000 MW of gas-based power capacity during the summer.
All hydropower plants have been directed to work with Regional Load Despatch Centers and State Load Despatch Centers to optimize water usage in the current month for better availability in the future.
Singh said new coal-based plants would be commissioned by the end of this month, with an additional capacity of 2,920 MW. Two thermal power units at Barauni (2 X 110 MW) will also be available during the period.
With the GDP growing at nearly 7%, the power demand in the country has been increasing at close to 10% per year. According to CEA estimates, the energy demand in April 2023 is expected to be 142,097 MU, the highest in 2023, before decreasing to 141,464 MU in May 2023 and declining further to 117,049 MU by November.