Coal availability declined at thermal power stations in April and May, with stock touching critical levels (less than five or seven days) and super critical levels (less than three or four days) at at least eight plants across the country, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) said in its report on the domestic power sector. Coal stock at 113 power plants was 17.73 million tonnes (94 per cent domestic and 6 per cent imported) in May, down by 25 per cent month-on-month.
This is the lowest coal stock inventory in the last 17 months.
Analysts note that the inventory at plants reduced due to higher coal consumption, as power generation increased given a sharp rise in demand from several States. At the same time, coal production from Coal India Ltd declined in May by 4.3 per cent year-on-year to 40.7 million tonnes.
Overall, power demand in May 2017 increased by 6.3 per cent compared to May 2016 to 105.5 billion units (BUs). Even after the sharp increase in demand, India was able to manage the power deficit at 0.6 per cent, aided by strong generation growth at 7.3 per cent year-on-year. Power demand increased by around 12 per cent in Maharashtra, 20 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 12 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, 14 per cent in Telangana and around 11 per cent in Haryana, said the report. Ind-Ra researchers note that while India continues to be coal dependent for power supply, with coal based capacity at around 196 GW by the end of May, the government’s increased focus on renewable energy led to a decline of the proportion of coal-based capacity from 62 per cent in May 2016 to 59 per cent in May 2017. At the same time, India plans to add around 11.4 GW of thermal capacity in FY18. Of this, 32 per cent was already achieved in April and May, the report notes.