With the country facing a power crisis due to a coal shortage, the power ministry directed all states and domestic coal-based power generators to import at least 10% of their required coal for blending. The move was part of the government's effort to build up a stock of coal to avoid the reoccurrence of power outages. Their quota (for imported coal) would be increased by 15% for the remaining time if they didn’t follow the blending guidelines.
The Indian government has ordered power generation companies to use 10% of imported coal for blending. Government officials told TNIE, that power producers need to pay ten times more for imported coal because it costs nearly ₹17,000 to 20,000 per tonne more than domestic coal, which costs around ₹1,700 to 2,000 per tonne, including landing costs.
A few months back, India faced a severe coal shortage due to a surge in power demand as a heat wave hit large parts of the country. Coal shortages at various gencos have impacted the electricity supply.
In May, coal stocks at more than 100 thermal plants have fallen below 25% of the required stock, and at more than 50 thermal plants, the stock has fallen below 10% levels. To meet the rising demand for electricity, the Indian Railways also diverted trains for the faster movement of coal carriages.
As of July 14, coal-fired power plants had a combined stock of 23 million tonnes, which is enough to run the utilities for two weeks if the weather remains favourable, according to official data seen by HT.
The coal ministry has assured the supply of 172 million tonnes to power utilities till September, significantly more than the 155 million tonnes promised earlier, power ministry officials said. That may not be enough, as the power ministry expects peak demand during the monsoons to reach 215,000 MW or higher.
Who stands to gain from coal imports?
Gautam Adani’s conglomerate is benefiting from India’s rush to import coal to ease a supply crunch, winning a huge majority of import orders from state power giant NTPC, Bloomberg reported.
NTPC has placed orders for 20 million tons of imported coal for the fiscal year ending March, of which almost 17.3 million tons have been awarded to Adani Enterprises Ltd., the report said.
Recently, France's TotalEnergies SE and Adani Group have agreed to invest $50 billion over the next 10 years in India to produce green hydrogen. In January, Adani Group set up a new subsidiary, ANIL, to undertake green hydrogen projects, the generation of low-carbon electricity, and the manufacture of wind turbines, solar modules, and batteries.
Meanwhile, Coal India has cancelled its maiden tender for the short-term import of coal in which Adani Enterprises had emerged as the lowest bidder, PTI reported, quoting sources.
Adani Enterprises, which had quoted around ₹17,000-plus per tonne for importing 2.416 MT of coal, was earlier selected for the short-term shipment.
However, for a medium-term tender for sourcing an additional 6 million tonnes (MT) of coal from overseas, PT Bara Daya Energy had quoted ₹2,000 per tonne less than the rate quoted by the Adani group firm.
So, Coal India, in its board meeting held on July 8, decided to cancel the short-term tender of 2.416 million tonnes and PT Bara Daya Energy was asked to supply the indented quantity against the medium-term tender, the sources said.
Earlier, the coal ministry assigned Coal India to import on behalf of the state's genocs. On June 09, Coal India floated its maiden tender to import 2.416 million tonnes of coal. It floated two medium-term bids for sourcing 6 million tonnes (MT) of coal from overseas.
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