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Electricity demand up 4.9% in H1 of October amid sluggish coal supply in India

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Rising electricity demand and high global coal prices have left utilities scrambling for coal.

The country’s electricity demand grew by 4.9 percent during the first half of October, despite a 3.2 percent increase in coal-fired generation and a 30 percent increase in solar generation, despite a 1.4 percent reduction in supply, a Reuters report from the government said. The analysis data showed.

Increased economic activity after the second wave of the coronavirus has stoked power demand, resulting in supply shortfalls due to coal shortages, which have forced northern states to cut power for up to 14 hours this month .

Rapid growth in electricity demand and high global coal prices have left utilities turning to coal – India’s major source of electricity generation – a near monopoly in coal production, despite record supplies from state-run Coal India.

The share of coal in India’s electricity generation rose to nearly 70 per cent during the first fifteen days of October, compared to an average of 66.5 per cent during the whole of September, an analysis of data from federal grid regulator POSOCO showed.

Power ministry data shows that nearly three-fifths of India’s coal-fired capacity currently has coal inventories that will last three days or less.

The average coal reserves with power plants will last for four days, two-thirds less than the average of 12 days two months ago.

The energy-hungry country’s electricity minister told officials in early September to consider converting coal to power plants with extremely low stocks, and inventory targets to allow coal to be moved to areas with the greatest shortages. Reduce the number of days from 14 days to 10 days.

Data from the Ministry of Power shows that the number of power plants with fuel for one to three days in coal supply has increased in the past two months, while the number of power plants with more than a week’s stock has declined.

Nevertheless, the number of utilities without coal increased from 1 on 12 August to 18 on 12 October.

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