Govt. Asks Coal Utilities To Import Coal Due To Surging Demand


Major players in the power generation, such as Adani group have boosted the output in their coal mines across India to meet the rising demand. Coal India too has accelerated the output in order to contribute more, owing to the surge in demand.

Despite having the fourth largest coal reserves globally, the India government has urged the coal utilities to import the black metal, as the demand for energy has surged exponentially post pandemic, leaving several power plants on the verge of running out of fuel. 

Currently the coal- fired plants generate more than 70 per cent of electricity in India, and in terms of consumption, after China, India is the second largest coal importer of coal globally, mainly importing from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa. 

However, the energy produced is not able to fulfil the demands. Data released by the Central Electricity Authority shows that more than 135 coal-fired power plants are left with less than a week’s supply, 50 plants have less than three day’s supply, and six plants have completely run out of coal.

 “Thermal power plants, which many import coal for blending, may explore (ways) to enhance imports of coal to tide over the current crisis”, said the power ministry in August 30 notice. The overall power output of coal soared to 23.7 percent from the previous year. 

Earlier in 2021, coal-fired electricity generation jumped 19.3 per cent faster than the renewable energy generation, as per the POSCO data. The power generation ministry said that the installation of renewable power sources has been slower than the demand – which had risen to more than 13 per cent. 

Major players in the power generation, such as Adani group have boosted the output in their coal mines across India to meet the rising demand. Coal India too has accelerated the output in order to contribute more, owing to the surge in demand. In July 2021, Adani group signed an agreement with the Maharashtra State Power Generation Co Ltd. (MAHAGENCO) – to develop and operate the Gare Palma Sector II coal mine. 

Adani group, currently, owns one coal mine in India, and it has already targeted to export coal this year from the Carmichael mine in Australia. Coal India ltd, on the other hand, said that it would increase supplies to utilities to address the crisis of the coal shortage for helping the power plants that are running out of fuel. 

IEA has estimated that the coal’s share in the primary energy would decline steadily in terms of percentage from 44 per cent in 2019 to 34 per cent in 2040, but the demand for coal would increase by 31 per cent in the same period from 413 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) in 2019 to 541 mtoe in 2040.  

This signifies that despite the environmental concerns, coal-fired power plants would likely continue until the renewable energy sector is not able to meet the growing demands, and the government along with the private players will have to beef up the output in the existing projects. 


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