Mumbai: The all-India energy demand is expected to be higher in 4Q FY21 despite partial lockdowns in some states after increase in Covid-19 cases, according to India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). In February, energy demand increased 0.2 per cent year-on-year to 104.6 billion units. The energy demand over April 2020 to February 2021 was lower by 2.8 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
The short-term power price at Indian Energy Exchange continued its improving trend with prices breaching Rs 4 per unit in March for the first time since October 2018. In February, a 19.5 per cent increase (5,124 million units) in traded volumes was witnessed in the day-ahead market. The electricity generation increased 0.1 per cent to 101.1 billion units in February, supported by 1.9 per cent growth in thermal generation although hydro generation fell 14 per cent, said Ind-Ra in its latest credit digest.
Electricity generation from renewable sources increased 2 per cent to 11.5 billion units in February with solar generation increasing 12.2 per cent. The renewable generation over 11M FY21 improved 5.8 per cent to 134.3 billion units. The improvement in energy demand and the reduced generation from hydro and renewables sources helped thermal plant load factor (PLF) increase to 63.3 per cent in February. In February, thermal sector’s PLFs rose across central, state and private sectors, increasing to 73.8 per cent, 57.7 per cent and 59.8 per cent respectively.
Despite showing improvement during September 2020 to February 2021, thermal PLFs over 11M FY21 was lower at 53.4 per cent mainly impacted by a decline in power demand — given the must-run status of nuclear, hydro and renewables. Ind-Ra said the production by Coal India Ltd fell by 6.6 per cent to 61.9 million tonnes in February after showing growth between August to December 2020.
The recovery in power demand over April to February led to a gradual rise in coal offtake over the same period and coal inventory at thermal power stations on February 28 fell by 14.3 per cent to 31.9 million tonnes per annum due to improved demand and lower coal production in January and February. The transmission line addition improved to 12,369 circuit km over 11M FY21 and was higher at 2,477 circuit km in February, said Ind-Ra.