Coal supply to power plants dipped in past 3 years; declined more in FY21 due to COVID: Power Minister

Coal supply to power plants dipped during the last three years, but declined more in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s power minister informed the parliament. Coal supplies to power plants stood at 643.7 million tonnes in 2018-19, 638.7 million tonnes in 2019-20 and 596.3 million tonnes in 2020-21. It was 171.7 million tonnes during April to June in 2021.

“The receipt of coal has registered a slight decline during the last three years. However, during 2020-21 the decline was more due to the effect of COVID-19 pandemic prevailing in the country,” Power Minister R K Singh said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

Moreover, he said the share of power generation from non-fossil fuels (renewable energy) has also been increasing consistently over the years, leading to reduction in plant load factor (PLF or capacity utilisation) of coal-based power plants.

The gas consumption by gas-based power plants was consistent at about 30 MMSCMD (million metric standard cubic metre per day), the minister told the House. The minister added that in order to address the issues of coal supplies to power sector, an Inter-Ministerial Sub Group comprising representatives from ministries of power, coal, railways, shipping as well as Central Electricity Authority (CEA), NTPC and Coal India Ltd (CIL), Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) meet regularly to take various operational decisions for meeting any contingent situations.

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