Against the peak power demand hovering at 20,000 megawatt (mw) in UP 4-5 days back, the aggregate power demand has dipped to 16,000-17,000 mw after pre-monsoon showers lashed large parts of the state over the past 1-2 days.
Consequently, the public and private sector power generating units have also pared their generation to that level, sources said.
The power availability at present in UP stands at 18,000 Mw from all the sources, including state power generating units and 7,000 Mw imported from the central sector. Since, the aggregate demand has fallen, the thermal power production has also been cut for the larger safety of grid and maintaining balance between the demand-supply matrices.
While, the state power utility UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) and the different distribution companies (discoms) have managed to balance power demand-supply, yet during the dry spells in monsoon, the power demand normally shoots up due to humid weather with domestic sector demand going up.
Coal also becomes wet during monsoons, which decreases their calorific value and puts pressure on power generation. At the same time, the coal supply crunch also poses problems before the state energy mandarins to provide adequate power in the state. The power generation companies have been asked to keep sufficient coal stock for the monsoon months ahead.
Meanwhile, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) today suggested the Yogi Adityanath government to develop a network of mini grid electricity systems to supply adequate power to the rural areas in the state.
In its report titled ‘Mini-grids in Uttar Pradesh – Policy Lessons’, CSE claimed a fifth of rural UP was living sans power despite he massive growth in electricity infrastructure in recent years. Currently, 14.2 million households in rural UP lack access to power connections and despite government claims, power supply remained limited to 10-16 hours, the report said. The state government is targetting to electricity all households in coming years.
According to CSE, since, power crunch was likely to persist, mini-grid could resolve the situation for UP over the next 5-10 years. These mini-grids could be supplied power through small renewable energy units, including solar or biomass based. The private sector should be provided subsidies for generation and distribution asset development.
At present unregulated mini-grid sector development has led to consumers paying exorbitant tariffs of above Rs 20 per unit for 6-8 hours of power supply.
CSE held a round-table conference to discuss the role of mini-grid generators in addressing UP energy challenge. The meet was attended by the representatives of UP New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA), UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC), distribution companies (discoms), experts, mini-grid developers and investors.