India’s thermal power generation capacity addition programme, which was exceeding the actual targets set by the government until a few years ago, has stagnated and steeply fell in the recent years due to various issues such as land acquisition, focus on renewables and funding problems of the developers, especially in the private sector.
If the target is to add 10296.15 megawatt (MW) of thermal power in 2019-20, the actual addition until the end of September 2019 was only 3345 MW, said a Central Electricty Authority (CEA) review of progress of thermal power projects under execution in the country. Of this, 1980 MW out of a target of 6040 MW is in the Central sector powered by the NTPC, 1320 MW out of a target of 4256.15 MW by various states and just 45 MW in the private sector were added during the period. In 2017-18, the target was to add 11,366.15 MW capacity, but the actual addition was only 8,710 MW. In 2018-19, the target was reduced to 7266.15 MW, but the addition was only 5781.75 MW.
If 2017-18 saw private sector players adding 2,280 MW out of a target of 2940 MW, only 972 MW of private capacity was added in 2018-19.
By comparison, the original targeted thermal capacity addition during the 12th plan period from 2012-13 to 2016-17 was a total of 72,339.6 MW, including 43,540 MW in the private sector. If the target for the Central sector during the five year period was 14,877.6 MW, the actual addition was 15,868.6 2 MW. In the state sector, the target was to add 13,922 MW, but the actal addition was 22,201.4 MW of thermal capacity. If plans for the private sector was to add 43,540 MW, the actual addition was higher at 53,660.5 MW.
The CEA document says a total of 61,696.15 MW of power projects, including 23,730 MW in the private sector, which includes 62 super critical units and 51 sub critical units, are still under construction as of September 30, 2019.
India’s installed thermal power capacity had jumped from 1,36,768 MW at the end of the 11th plan period to 2,28,498 MW by the end of the 12th plan period. Thereafter, the capacity additions slowed down, marginally increasing to 2,37,208 MW in 2017-18and 2,42,990 MW by the end of 2018-19.