Since electricity cannot be stored, generation is the most robust indicator of demand.
After recording a massive 14% year-on-year (y-o-y) surge in electricity demand in October, the country’s electricity requirement registered a 5.5% y-o-y growth in November. Power generation from conventional sources such as thermal, nuclear and hydro went up by 4.6% y-o-y in the month to 99.9 billion units (BUs). Renewable energy-based power plants produced 8 BU in November, 16% more than the corresponding period last year. Since electricity cannot be stored, generation is the most robust indicator of demand.
The plant load factor (PLF) at coal-based power plants was 61.5% in November, nearly three percentage points higher than the same month last year. However, although the average PLFs for government-run power plants improved, the same for independent power plants slipped 70 basis points further to 54.3%.
The major independent power plants which recorded drop in PLF levels y-o-y are JP Nigrie, Adani Mundra, JSPL Tamnar phase 2. All power plants of Reliance Power saw their PLFs fall in November.
Analysts noted that PLFs fell the most which sell power in the exchanges with fall in trading volume in the power bourses in November.
Independent plants where PLFs improved significantly are CESC Dhariwal, Adani Kawai, Tata Power Mundra, GMR Raikheda and Essar Mahan. NTPC power plants ran at 80.9% PLF, up from 77.6%.
Peak power demand of the country had breached the 180 gigawatt (GW) mark in October — the first time in history — marking the reversal of the trend of tepid growth in energy demand since FY15 and signalling a spurt in industrial activity. Peak power demand increased at a compound annual growth rate of just 2.6% between FY15 and FY18. In the face of rising power demand, “our existing capacity and pipeline can at best meet projected peak demand till FY23, post which we will start running peak deficit,” ICICI Securities said in a recent note.