Power plants get nod to blend 10% imported coal

Power plants get nod to blend 10% imported coal
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Power plants get nod to blend 10% imported coal 

Highlights

The Union government on Wednesday asked all thermal power plants to restart the discontinued practice of blending 10% imported coal on concerns over depleting stock.

New Delhi: The Union government on Wednesday asked all thermal power plants to restart the discontinued practice of blending 10% imported coal on concerns over depleting stock.

Earlier on Tuesday, the PMO reviewed the coal position at thermal power plants amid persistent worries over shortages and power supply disruptions.

The PMO swung into action after several States reported alarmingly low coal stocks, and some resorted to load-shedding. Blending local coal with imported ones has been practiced in the past to get better caloric value and improve the efficiency of power plants.

The country's largest power producer NTPC has also used blended coal at its power plants to offset lower heat generated by high ash content of local coal.

Power sector analysts, however, said that with imported coal prices touching the roof, with widely-used Indonesian coal's prices soaring from USD60-70 in April to about USD180-190 a tonne now, it would be tough for power generators to use this expensive coal without getting to raise the electricity tariff to offset higher cost.

One of the reasons for brimming power crisis in the country is reduced coal imports due to exorbitantly high prevailing prices.

The development on coal imports comes at a time when Coal India Ltd said that its dispatches are higher than last year and problem of shortages being reported in the country would be addressed in a few days.

As part of the exercise to deal with the crisis, the Centre has also warned the States of snapping their share of unallocated power if this is not being used to meeting needs of consumers but being sold on power exchanges at a higher rate for gains.

Several States including Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Assam, and Madhya Pradesh are reporting severe stress in their power situation in wake of fuel shortages at coal-based plants while an unprecedented increase is seen in demand due to the post-pandemic rapid recovery in economic activities.

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