October 7, 2021 12:23:33 am
Expensive natural gas and a country-wide coal shortage has “strained” electricity supply in Gujarat, where state-owned thermal power plants are already operating at 50 per cent of Plant Load Factor (PLF, a measure of a power plant’s capacity utilisation), officials said Wednesday.
“There is no shortage of electricity in Gujarat. Given the coal shortage in the country, our systems are strained, but we have been maintaining our power supply,” said Shameena Hussain, managing director of Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL), a Gujarat government company engaged in bulk purchase and sale of electricity and coordinates and facilitates activities of six subsidiary companies involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in state.
Gujarat, which has a total power generation capacity of over 29,000 MW is currently seeing a shortage during peak hours of the day. During this time, it is forced to buy power from the power exchanges at expensive rates. GUVNL dubbed this shortage during peak hours as “dynamic” and said it is currently manageable.
The daily power demand of Gujarat oscillates between 19,000-18,000 MW. It currently has generating capacity of 29,000 MW, of which which 19,000 MW is conventional power (a mix of thermal, gas and hydro power plants), while the rest is renewable energy that is sometimes not fully available during the evenings when demand surges.
“Due to the current coal shortage crisis, Gujarat is forced to buy expensive power from the power exchanges which is as high as Rs 15 per unit,” said KK Bajaj, a power expert based in Ahmedabad.
According to officials, poor PLF of state-owned thermal power plants, non-availability of gas-fired plants and private power plants, operating on imported coal, not cooperating with Gujarat, have made the situation tough. While the coal shortage is causing coal stocks of Gujarat to deplete rapidly, wet coal supplied from the mines is making power generation difficult. The state has about 14000 MW of thermal power plant and 4550 MW of gas-fired power plants.
“The issue that thermal power plants are facing is that they are getting wet coal from Coal India Limited which has to be dried before being used. The thermal power plants of GSECL (Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited) are therefore running at 50 percent PLF,” an official from the state government said. GSECL is a power generation subsidiary of GUVNL. About 2,500 MW of gas-fuelled power plants are also not available due to high prices of natural gas in the market, officials added.
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