With India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting 66 per cent chance of deficit monsoon this year, worst fear of the power sector might also come true. Due to deficit rainfall, hydro power plants might run below their peak capacity hence putting pressure on thermal capacity.
"It is a matter of concern that the monsoons are expected to be below normal. We are conscious that this will result in a fall in hydro power production and the demand will also increase because the farmers will need more power to run their pump,” said Piyush Goyal, minister of state for coal, power and renewable energy at the annual power ministry award function.
He said the coal and power ministries are ready with a contingency plan to ensure that there are no power shortages in the country in case of a below normal monsoon. “We are preparing for any eventuality by ensuring adequate availability of coal for generation. The state-owned Coal India's production has risen 11.9% this fiscal to 83.8 million tonne,” said Goyal.
The minister said the thermal power plants would need to make up for the deficiency and called upon both public and private sector coal and gas fired power plants.
“Buffer stocks are being built up and power plants are ready to produce more. We have sufficient capacity in the system. Sufficient contingency plans have been drawn up. We will ensure that there is no power shortage anywhere in the country,” said Goyal.
The current hydro capacity in the country is 41650 Mw. As on May 17, around 15,843 million units of power from hydro stations were fed in the grid. It is slightly more than the expected generation of 15007 million units.
Around 14,000 Mw of gas fired stranded capacity would also operate this year with gas made available to them under the new supply mechanism. Coal based 28,000 Mw of power plants have also been allotted coal mines through e-auction.