The power ministry has deferred the planned maintenance of around 10 gigawatts (GW) thermal power capacity to the monsoon season, instead of April to June 2024, as it prepares a roadmap to meet peak power demand during summer.

It is also exploring the option of restarting 5.2 GW of non-operational thermal power plants to meet electricity demand, which is growing at 6-7 per cent per annum. India’s peak power demand is expected to hit 260 GW in FY24 from 240 GW in FY23 (September).

Power Minister RK Singh on Tuesday reviewed the ministry’s preparations for peak summer.

He directed officials to review and postpone until monsoon the maintenance of 1.7 GW thermal power capacity scheduled for April and 6-9 GW for June, a power ministry statement said.

Singh also reviewed the status of the 5.2 GW non-operational thermal capacity, it added.

Summer preparation

The review assumes significance as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has projected higher-than-normal maximum temperatures in many parts of the country, leading to bigger demand for cooling and higher electricity consumption.

The power ministry also decided to explore the possibility of harnessing surplus power from captive generating stations.

“It was also pointed out that all thermal generating stations must offer their un-requisitioned or surplus power in power exchanges, as mandated by the recently notified rules. It has been directed that compliance needs to be monitored regularly and notices issued for violation of directions,” the ministry statement said.

The ministry directed imported-coal based (ICB) power plants to operate at full capacity until September 2024. A meeting with officials of gas-based power plants will be held to review their running during April to June.

The capacity of all thermal power plants experiencing partial outages was reviewed to ensure maximum availability. The capacity under partial outages has reportedly declined and measures were suggested to reduce it further.

Capacity additions in coal, hydro, nuclear, solar and wind power generation would also be monitored to expedite their commissioning.

Power demand

India’s peak energy demand grew by 12.7 per cent from around 215 GW in FY23 to 243 GW in FY24, while peak supply increased by 13.9 per cent from 210 GW to 240 GW during the period.

Energy requirement grew by 7.5 per cent in FY24, compared to FY23, and energy availability grew by 7.8 per cent, cutting the shortfall from 0.5 per cent in FY23 to 0.2 per cent in FY24.

Electricity generated grew by 7.1 per cent from 1,621 billion units (BU) in FY23 to 1,736 BU in FY24.

Coal-based power generation grew in FY24 by 10 per cent year-on-year, with domestic coal-based generation increasing by 6.5 per cent Y-o-Y and imported coal-based generation increasing by 104 per cent.