India considers further coal imports as concern over energy supply grows
Energy officials in India are considering whether further coal imports may be needed to avoid any fresh squeeze on the nation’s power supply.
Stockpiles of the fossil fuel at power plants have fallen about 11% since mid-August, meaning utilities have an average of 10 days supply, well below required levels of more than three weeks. Coal helps produce about 70% of India’s electricity.
“We are watching the situation anxiously,” Power and Renewable Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh said in an interview. “Availability of power for the common man is non-negotiable.”
Plants must maintain adequate stockpiles and import supply if needed, even though the nation’s longer-term policy is to limit purchases from overseas, he said Thursday.
Coal India Ltd., the state-run supplier, issued a first-ever import tender in June and NTPC Ltd. also added more purchases from seaborne markets under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s efforts to bolster supplies.
India is seeking to avoid any repeat of 2021’s coal crunch, the worst in years and triggered by a prolonged monsoon season which flooded mines and choked shipments. Coal-fired power generation jumped almost 16% in the first week of September from a year earlier, as warmer weather in several parts of the country lifted demand for cooling.
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