According to the Coal Ministry, the country faces constraints on domestic coal supply, with the rest of the dry fuel demand needing to be met through imports.
The ministry also highlighted that coal block holders – whether self-operated or commercial – can play an important role in easing coal shortages.
Domestic coal production is around 800 million tonnes, according to the Coal Additional Secretary, who also chairs the inter-ministerial group on coal linkages in the power sector.
An inter-ministerial group met recently to consider requests for coal linkages with central/state sector power plants and to review the status of existing coal linkages.
The additional coal minister stated that “there are constraints on domestic coal supply, which is about 800 metric tonnes of domestic coal production”.
“As a result, the rest of the country’s coal needs must be met by imports from other countries,” according to the minutes of the Fuel Link meeting.
Coal Minister AK Jain earlier attributed low coal inventories at power plants to several factors, such as increased demand for electricity due to the post-COVID-19 economic boom, early summer, rising gas and import prices for coal and coastal thermal power plants. Power generation has dropped sharply.
He added that a series of measures have been taken to boost the country’s total electricity supply.
The country’s gas-fired power generation has fallen sharply, exacerbating the crisis.
Coastal coal-fired power plants are now producing about half of their electricity due to a sharp rise in the price of imported coal. This has resulted in a gap between electricity demand and supply.
The minister further stated that states located in the south and west have been reliant on imported coal.
And when domestic coal is shipped by truck/rake to domestic coal-fired power plants in these states to make up for the loss of imported coal power generation, the turnaround time for the rake is more than 10 days, which creates rake availability issues for other plants.