Coal-starved thermal projects in India will now have access to a steady supply of the fuel.
The government has put in place a roadmap that ensures coal supplies for the next two years for the already commissioned and stranded plants as well as those that would be commissioned by March, 2015.
India’s largest coal producer, Coal India Ltd (CIL), will supply 440 million tonnes (mt) of coal out of the estimated requirement of 445.4 mt in 2014-15 and 524 mt in 2015-16, according to an official note on reviving the stranded power projects, a copy of which is available which HT.
Power minister Piyush Goyal has ordered that coal supplies of 32 mt reserved for e-auction, which fetched coal companies a higher price for the current fiscal, should also be diverted to first meet domestic coal requirement of power plants.
Confirming the move, a senior government official said that CIL may be able to meet the requirement without imports in 2014-15, so a balance small quantity could be imported. To meet the requirement in 2015-16, the company “has been asked to aim at enhancing the domestic production at the rate of 10% and the gaps can be met by importing the coal.”
Besides, CIL has also been asked to enhance production from existing mines after securing an approval from the ministry of environment and forests for enhanced mining as well as by improving operational efficiency.
At present, coal-based thermal capacity of 7,230 MW is already commissioned but has no linkage. In addition, a further 10,930 MW is likely to be commissioned by March, 2015. Hence, there is an urgent need to firm up coal supplies up to 18,160 MW already commissioned or to be commissioned by March, 2015.
On the whole, a total of 73,680 MW of thermal capacity, either commissioned or to be commissioned shortly, continues to face serious problems on various counts, mostly related to fuel. This also includes 24,248 mw of gas-based power capacity.