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India's power demand to grow beyond 205 GW; won't drop to pre-COVID levels: RK Singh

India’s power demand hit an all-time high of 210.8 gigawatts earlier this month

June 16, 2022 / 01:56 PM IST
Power Minister RK Singh (Source: Twitter/@OfficeOfRKSingh)

Power Minister RK Singh (Source: Twitter/@OfficeOfRKSingh)

Power demand in India will grow beyond 205 GW going forward and the demand will not drop back to pre-COVID levels, said RK Singh, Minister of Power and New, Renewable Energy at the ‘India Energy Transition Summit 2022’ on June 16.

The minister's comments come at a time when India is facing an acute power supply and coal crunch. Power demand hit an all-time high of 210.8 gigawatts (GW) on June 9, driven by industrial pickup and households suffering an ongoing heat wave.

Also Read: 'Need to augment coal production as fast as possible; State gencos to continue import': RK Singh

This comes after the power minister told CNBC-TV18 last week that coal production in the country needs to increase as soon as possible. In this regard, state-generating companies have been instructed to continue imports as the coal imports by states fell drastically - one reason that led to the shortfall in domestic coal production.

Coal will be the backbone of energy generation in India for the next 20 years, said Alok Kumar, power secretary, who was also present at the event.

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In support, Coal Secretary AK Jain highlighted that energy generation through renewable energy is saving 6-7 lakh tonne of coal consumption in India. Around 80 per cent of all of Indian Railways rakes are being used for coal transportation at the moment, he added.

India's power demand this year increased to about 40-45,000 megawatts on a daily basis, and in energy terms, the demand and consumption went up to 4,500 mili units from 3,500 mili units - which is an increase of 25 per cent.

However, power minister claimed that India does not have a shortage in energy production and that the power plants are running at 50 per cent capacity utilisation. The shortage of coal is mostly due to bottlenecks in production, he noted. The government is also looking to increase penalties on states for missing renewable energy sanctions.

On the government's roadmap for the next three to five years, the power minister remained optimistic on India's energy transition plans. He told CNBC-TV18 that while coal will continue to be a major player for India's power generation, plans for expediting hydro for fulfilling the same purpose are underway.

“Our energy transition is happening at a rapid pace. Other is that coal will continue to be a major thing, but we are adding hydro. We have another about 12,000 megawatts of hydro under installation and are going to start more projects, but coal will still continue to occupy a large space in our power generation plants,'' he explained.

On hydro, the minister said today at the event that they have finalized agreements to setup 30,000 MW of hydro power projects in Arunachal Pradesh. Along with this, Singh said that the government will come out with more policies to facilitate production of green hydrogen in India.

The power minister will also introduce an electricity amendment bill during the monsoon season in the parliament.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 16, 2022 11:43 am
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