NEW DELHI: Amid record high power demand this year, the Union power ministry has initiated discussions with state governments to augment their power generation capacities, both conventional and renewable energy.
Union Minister for Power, New and Renewable Energy R K Singh said close to 12 gigawatt (Gw) of new coal-based capacity will come online by March 2024.
“Since August, every month the power demand has increased by 20 per cent. We have asked states that all units should run at 100 per cent capacity. We have discussed with the states to set up new power plants in coal-bearing areas to meet the future power demand,” Singh said on the first day of the annual State Power Ministers’ meeting held here in Delhi.
Energy departments of all states participated in the deliberations.
Singh said most states agreed to enhance generation capacity — both conventional (coal) and renewable. “It has been decided that the Central Electricity Authority and states will jointly prepare a ‘Resource Adequacy Plan’ in order to build capacity for meeting future demand,” Singh said.
Pankaj Agarwal, secretary in the power ministry, told the media on the sidelines that by 2031-32, close to 70-75 Gw of additional coal-based capacity would be required in order to cater to the fluctuating demand impacted by extreme weather events.
“We are expecting 500 megawatts of hydro to come by next year. Going forward, more coal capacity would be added, renewable would come with storage. Several states have indicated plans to add more capacity, mostly brownfield and some new units,” Agarwal said.
Singh said as demand continues to maintain a rising trajectory, states and generating companies would need to import coal for blending. During the past three months, there was a shortfall of at least 250,000 tonnes of coal every day. “States have to choose between load shedding or imported coal blending. As a country, we will not compromise on growth and availability of power,” the minister said.
He also said states are being pursued to build more transmission assets and offer more projects through the tendering route. “We have also asked states to monetise transmission assets as it will free up capital for them,” Singh said.