State-run power generator NTPC plans to import 5.4 million tonnes (mt) of coal for its power plants in the first half of the next financial year, Parliament was informed on Tuesday.

“NTPC is planning to import around 5.4 mt of coal for its group stations to meet domestic coal supply shortage during the first half of financial year 2023-24,” Power Minister RK Singh said in a written response to a query in the Rajya Sabha.

During the current summer season, India’s peak power demand is expected to be around 230 gigawatts (GW) and the Ministry has taken several measures to ensure that peak demand can be met, Singh added.

On January 9, the Ministry directed Central and State Gencos and independent power producers (IPPs) to take necessary actions to import coal for blending at the rate of 6 per cent by weight through transparent competitive procurement in order to have sufficient stock at power plants, for smooth operations till September.

On February 7, in a written response to a query in the Upper House, Singh had said that the gap between daily domestic coal consumption and arrival ranges from 2.65 lakh tonnes (lt) to 0.5 lt between September 2022 and January 2023.

“If imports for blending had not been made, coal stocks in thermal power plants would have reduced to zero in September 2022. Therefore, Power Ministry advised Central, State Gencos and IPPs on January 9 to import coal through a transparent competitive procurement for blending so as to have sufficient coal stocks at their power plants for smooth operations till September, 2023,” he had said.

Power demand

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) expects energy demand at 142 billion units (BU) in April , the highest for 2023, before tapering to 141.20 BU in May and 117 BU in November. The country’s peak power demand is expected at 229 GW next month.

Coal consumption

India’s current daily average coal consumption is around 2.3 mt, while production is about 3.3 mt per day. The Coal Ministry has said that as of March 9, more than 100 mt of coal is available in the country, which includes 64 mt at mine pitheads, 6 mt in transit at good sheds, washery & ports and 31 mt at thermal power plants.