MUMBAI: Rising temperature is pushing up the demand for power in the city and across the state, forcing power units, over 85% of which are thermal, to burn more coal and heat up the earth a bit more while drawing huge amounts of water from rivers and dams that are already stressed after a less-than satisfactory monsoon.
Power industry expert Ashok Pendse said there is a direct connect between rising temperature and power demand. If temperature goes beyond 28 degrees Celsius, power generation has to be increased simultaneously.
“A rise to 32-35 degrees from 26-27 degrees requires at least a doubling of power generation for Mumbai as air-conditioning demands go very high,” he said.
In Mumbai alone, about 1,000 to 1,200 MW is consumed by air-conditioners. Power use was at 1800 MW during the monsoon, and has now touched 3600 MW mark in October, which is comparable to summer. He advised people to keep their air-conditioning between 24 and 26 degrees to cut power guzzling. If its ACs in Mumbai, Pendse says in the rest of the state agriculture load for water pumps goes up.
“In rural areas, the water levels in wells and rivers deplete and power demand to lift water goes up,” he said. Pendse pointed out that the average temperature in both summer and after monsoon are rising due to global warming, resulting in more hotter days in both seasons.
It is a vicious cycle, said D Radhakrishnan, another power industry watcher. As power demand rises, so does generation using fossil fuel that further heats up the earth. Solar or wind power are urgent alternatives. “Overall, the country needs to increase the quantum of renewable energy fast. At existing pace, we may achieve about 1 lakh MW of renewable power by 2022 against the target of 1.75 lakh. That will be almost next to China’s production,” he added.