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Why is India facing its worst energy crisis in more than 6 years?

Why is India affected? energy crisis?

Demand for air conditioners has skyrocketed during this year’s continuous heat wave. In addition, the economic recovery following the lifting of all COVID-19 related restrictions on industrial activity has pushed demand for electricity in India to a record high in April.

New hybrid working models have been in place since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, with millions of Indians working from home, boosting daytime electricity usage among communities. reside. The gap between the power supplied and actual consumption is often wider at night, when the solar power supply stops working and the demand for air conditioning increases.

Many power plants have run out of fuel due to a sharp increase in electricity production, while the average amount of coal produced by power companies has been at its lowest for this time of year for at least nine years.

Despite record production by the state-run Coal Company of India, which accounts for 80% of domestic coal production, power companies are still short of coal to generate electricity.

The crisis prompted India to reverse its policy of cutting thermal coal imports to zero and requiring power companies to continue importing coal for the next three years.

India also invoked an emergency law to start generating power at all imported coal-fired plants, many of which are currently shut down due to soaring international coal prices.

Why is India facing its worst energy crisis in more than 6 years?  - Photo 1.

India faces power shortages that are expected to worsen in September and October. (Image: Mint)

Low inventories forced the Indian Coal Company to divert service. The state-run Indian Railways has canceled passenger trains to free up wagons for coal transport.

India is also planning to reopen more than 100 coal mines that were previously deemed financially unsustainable.

Who is the energy crisis affecting?

According to the polling platform LocalCircles, almost half of the 35,000 respondents across India said they face this situation. power cut in this May.

Factories in at least three Indian states were forced to close for hours.

As the supply of coal to power plants operated by energy-intensive industries was limited, plants began to draw electricity from the grid, increasing industrial costs and placing additional pressure on utilities. Coal-fired power plants operate at capacity.

Electricity use in the eastern state of Odisha, home to the largest steel and aluminum smelters in the country, increased by more than 30 percent between October 2021 and March 2022, nearly 10 times the rate. national average growth.

What will happen next?

Officials and analysts predict that India will face more power cuts this year due to low coal inventories and electricity demand is expected to grow at the fastest rate in the past few years. at least 38 years.

Power generation from coal-fired power plants, which account for nearly 75% of India’s annual electricity production, is expected to grow 17.6% this year, the highest rate in more than a decade.

India’s coal production and transportation by train can be affected during the monsoon season from June to September every year.

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