Updated: April 12, 2021 7:00:48 pm
DESPITE HAVING an installed power capacity of 28,642 MW (mega watt), the Gujarat government is looking to buy 1,000 MW of electricity to meet the state’s medium-term requirements, including an “unprecedented demand surge” from the industry in the state.
Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL), an arm of the state government involved in the bulk sale and purchase of electricity, has floated the bid to purchase power for medium term, which is around 23 months: till July 2023. The last date for filing the bid is April 15, 2021.
According to state government officials and experts in the energy sector, Gujarat has 19,000 MW of conventional power and an additional 9,000 MW of renewable power. The power demand for the state is 18000-19000 MW and for GUVNL alone it is over 15000 MW. Torrent Power also supplies power to Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Surat cities.
“The 9,000 MW of renewable power and the 4,000 MW of gas-based power is uncertain and infirm due various factors including high gas prices. Due to this, there is a shortfall when the demand for power peaks up to 19,000 MW,” said Shahmeena Husain, managing director of GUVNL.
“Despite a host of issues that we face, we do not have any load-shedding. We have to supply power continuously and sometimes we have to buy power from the market,” she said.
Energy experts such as K K Bajaj also point out some of the coal, lignite and gas-based power plants operated by the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSECL) are more than 30 years old and have diminished ability to generate power. “These power plants have Plant Load Factor (PLF) of less than 30 per cent. There are forced outages in the summers and remain closed for several weeks,” Bajaj said. Some of the power plants in the private sector too face outages, which adversely impacts the round-the-clock supply of power which drops by 5,000-6,000 MW.
“However, this is the first time Gujarat is buying power under the medium term basis,” Bajaj added.
The MD of GUVNL also cited the “unprecedented” increase in demand for power from the industrial sector in Gujarat. “There is an eight percent increase in the demand for power from industries. There has been an unprecedented increase in the demand after September-October 2020. So we need to have some arrangements with us to meet the exigencies. This is only an exercise to explore purchase of cheapest power from anywhere. We have also taken an approval of GERC,” Husain added.
While addressing the Gujarat Assembly during the recently concluded Budget session, Energy Minister Saurabh Patel admitted that the power produced by private players is costing Rs 3.08 a unit, while those produced by the state run units cost Rs 5.43 a unit as the government power plants are old and coal for the these plants is transported from far-flung places.
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