Like last summer, this year also India is witnessing power outages. This year’s power outage has been the worst in over six years, during the extreme heatwave. From Jammu and Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh, Indians are facing power outages lasting for from 2 hours to 8 hours or more.
But why is this happening in India again. Here we explain everything about India’s worst power crisis.
India is the world’s third largest energy consuming country, whose majority energy demands are met by coal. The country’s power requirement in the year 2022-23 is estimated to be 1,650.94 billion units.
Why is India facing electricity crisis?
India is facing electricity crisis since coal reserves in several states are fast running out, amid surging demand for electricity.
The surge in demand has got compounded due to an intense early summer heatwaves in several parts of the country.
What is exactly the state of coal stocks at thermal power stations?
India is witnessing an electricity crisis accentuated due to a coal shortage at over 150 power plants.
As per reports, the coal stock position at the Central Election Authority (CEA) supervised 173 power plants stood at 21.93 million tonnes (MT).
According to a Nomura report, the coal stock position is less than the regulatory requirement of 66.32 MT as on April 21.
The coal inventories, according to the reports have dipped to the lowest since 2014 at the beginning of the financial year to nine days as against the Centre's mandated 24 days' worth of stocks.
The CEA daily coal report said that coal stock at 81 out of the 150 government owned power plants is critical.
Impact of India's focus on green energy
In 2015-16, the Centre committed to aggressive targets of installing 175 GW of renewable energy (excluding large hydro) by 2022. Out of this, the target solar energy capacity was set at 100 GW by March 2023 -- 40 GW rooftop solar and 60 GW ground-mounted. Despite its best efforts, the country has managed to install around 43.94 GW till July 31.
Demand for power over the years was growing at a slow pace due to subdued economic activity. The peak power deficit that used to stay well above 9 per cent till 2012-13 came crashing down to just around 2.23 per cent in 2020-21.
But now, the economy is picking up at a fast pace and renewable power plants (Solar and Wind) are not able to keep up with peak power demand.
Apart from that high cost of coal in international markets is forcing private coal-based power plants to import less, because they would not be able to pass on the cost of expensive input cost to consumers in (state discoms).
What is the power demand in India?
There has been an increased power demand in India from 106.6 billion units (BU) in 2019, it has increased to 124.2 BU in 2021 to 132 BU in 2022.
Which states are facing the most electricity crisis?
The shortage in coal reserves at thermal power stations is triggering blackouts in states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Now, the crisis is also set to hit national capital—Delhi with government already issuing a warning that the power outage may affect metro and the hospitals.
All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) holds lack of coordination among ministries resposible for power outage
The lack of coordination amongst ministries of coal, railways and power is responsible for coal shortage which caused power outages across the country, the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) claimed on Friday.
"The power outages across the country due to coal shortage are due to the lack of coordination amongst the coal ministry, railway ministry and power ministry. Every ministry claims that they are not responsible for the present mess in the power sector," AIPEF said in a statement.