Coal stocks go down in TN thermal units amid spike in power demand

While the normal stock at various thermal units of TANGEDCO used to last for 15 days, it has now gone down to three days

Coal supply by Coal India Limited (CIL), which accounts for over 80 percent of India’s coal output, was down 3.8 percent in comparison with July

Coal stocks in various thermal units of Tamil Nadu have depleted to just three days while the normal stock used to last for 15 days.

The Mettur thermal unit, which has a capacity of 840MW, had coal stocks for just two days as on August 31, while the same unit had stock for 28 days on August 1.

Similarly, the five thermal units in Tuticorin have stock only for seven days against 24 days on August 1. Several thermal units across the country are also facing coal shortage as the amount of coal mined from the Coal India mines has depleted and the Union Power Ministry has advised states to import coal to meet the demand.

Coal supply by Coal India Limited (CIL), which accounts for over 80 per cent of India’s coal output rose 9.5 percent in August as compared to last year, but was down 3.8 percent in comparison with July. The installation of new renewable power sources has been slower than expected at a time when power demand had risen more than 13 per cent.

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According to the data, in the first eight months of 2021, coal-fired electricity generation jumped to 19.3 per cent, faster than the 14.5 percent growth in renewable energy generation.

Trading volumes in India Energy Exchange (IEX) rose 74 per cent to a monthly record in August. Along with the volumes increasing, the tariff also increased in the exchange.

“High cost of imported coal and LNG as well as lower wind power generation led to the increase in the electricity prices,” IEX said in a statement.

Also read: Govt’s coal push contradicts clean energy pledge, lays bare dark underbelly

For Tamil Nadu, the wind season is to end in another 14 days and TANGEDCO will have to depend only on thermal units to meet the power demand. The tariff at the Indian Electricity Market has increased to ₹9 per unit. TANGEDCO on an average purchases power at ₹6 per unit from the market to meet the demand.

“Compared to last year, the power demand is increasing and as of now nearly 316 million units of power consumption is there daily. Wind power generation this year has been less so far and therefore the power demand has been met only from thermal units as well as from the exchange,” said a senior TANGEDCO official.

TANGEDCO has a total thermal capacity of up to 4320MW and out of this thermal units in North Chennai use both local as well as imported coal. Coal imported from Indonesia, as well as from CIL, is unloaded at the Ennore and Tuticorin ports. From the ports, it is transported to Mettur through rail.

“The coming days and months are going to be tough unless the CIL increases the coal supply. The demand is expected to pick up as schools and other educational institutions have started to function. We are working to increase the coal supply to the thermal units,” said the official.

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