The Centre has reportedly asked hydropower producers to restore non-operational units to prevent a power crisis like last summer. Already, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a hotter-than-normal summer in many parts of north and central India.
The power ministry has asked National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board Ltd (HPSEBL) to revive Kishenganga project unit 1 and Sainj project unit 2, respectively, by March 31, The Mint has reported.
Production at Kishenganga unit 1 and Sainj unit 2 have been halted since November 23 and 24 last year, respectively. Their respective capacities are 330MW and 100MW. Nationwide power demand is expected to surge to 229GW next month, with a daily requirement of 144 billion units, said the report.
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April and May are the crucial months with high power demand, and these two months last year recorded a power crisis, thanks to low availability of domestic coal and high global prices.
The ministry has reportedly taken several other steps to ensure adequate availability of power in summer. To ensure sufficient coal supply, the ministry has invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Act, which requires all imported coal-based power plants to run at full capacity. Power generators have been told not to shut down any units in April and the first two weeks of May.
The ministry has also reportedly directed power utilities to maintain coal-based power plants in time so that they need no maintenance during the peak demand period. Besides, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will reportedly run its 5,000MW gas-based power stations to meet peak demand, while others will add another 4,000MW of gas-based power.
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India has an installed hydropower capacity of 46.85GW, while the government aims to achieve 500GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030.
(With agency inputs)