By Anupama Airy
From the era of experiencing major coal shortages, India presently boasts of surplus coal as production of coal increased to 554 million tonnes in 2016-17 from 462 million tonnes in 2013-14.
The significance of this increase of 92 MT of coal production in three years can be gauged from the fact that the same quantum of increase during the UPA regime was achieved in almost seven years.
In 2014, nearly two-third of the coal plants had critical stocks of less than seven days. Today, with increased production, there are no shortages of coal in the country across all thermal power plants.
Besides increasing production, the special emphasis that has been imparted to the quality of coal produced in India (as bad quality of domestic coal was often cited by the user industry to import coal), has not only brought down the per unit cost of coal based power but also considerably reduced the amount of coal used for producing per unit of electricity.
The figures say it all: The amount of coal required to generate per unit of electricity (specific coal consumption) has reduced by 8% in last 3 years. As against 0.69 kgs of coal consumed to produce 1kwh of electricity in 2013-14, only 0.63 kgs of coal was consumed to produce 1kwh of electricity in Apr-Feb 2016-17.
On power tariff front, better coal quality has reduced the cost of power upto Rs.0.30 per unit. The total savings accrued so far to India’s largest thermal power generation company, NTPC due to improved in quality of coal is above Rs. 5000 crore.
Currently, Writing a Book for Penguin India Titled Greased Pole:How Politics and Lobbying Stifled India’s Energy Dreams. The author can be reached on email@example.com (9810661825)