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Govt directs power plants to plan early to ensure power supply in summers

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New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) Thermal power plants have been directed to carry out "advance planning" for power generation and avoid maintenance during the summer season this year because of expected high energy demand with the Met department forecasting extreme heat conditions in April-June. According to the power ministry estimates, the peak demand in the country could reach 260 GW during the summer, higher than the record 243 GW in September last year.

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The Indian Meteorological Department on Tuesday forecast that India is set to experience extreme heat during the April-June period, with the central and western peninsular parts expected to face the worst impact.

Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy R K Singh has held a series of meetings, emphasising the need for ensuring zero load shedding during the summer season, an official statement said on Tuesday.

In a meeting, "he stressed that adequate advance planning should be done by all stakeholders, so as to prevent a situation in which one state has surplus power while another state faces power shortages," the Power Ministry statement said.

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Considering the energy provided by imported coal-based power plants, the directions under section 11 may be extended up to 30 September 2024, it said.

Singh has also directed the power plants to shift their planned maintenance to monsoon season instead of April-June. The minister reviewed the power capacity status of all thermal power plants experiencing partial outages, to ensure maximum availability of thermal capacity.

It was informed that the quantum of capacity under partial outages has come down and measures have been suggested to further reduce them.

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Singh has also reviewed the status of 5.2 GW of non-operational thermal capacity and directed that capacity additions in coal, hydro, nuclear, solar and wind would be monitored, so as to expedite their commissioning. It was also discussed that the surplus power with captive plants to be offered for sale in energy exchange.

Thermal generating stations must offer their un-requisitioned /surplus power in power exchanges, as mandated by the recently notified rules.

"NTPC raised the issue of infeasible power scheduling by various Discoms. The Minister directed that uniform technical minimum loading of 55 per cent of Unit capacity may be mandated for all coal-based power generators as has been implemented for Inter-State Generating Stations and Regional Load Despatch Centres," the statement said.

The Power Minister has directed that a meeting is to be conducted with all developers of gas-based power projects as well, to review the operationalization of gas-based capacity during the summer season.

The peak energy demand grew by 12.7 per cent from 2,15,888 MW in 2022-23 to 2,43,271 MW in 2023-24. While the peak demand met grew by 13.9 per cent from 2,10,725 MW in 2022-23 to 2,39,931 MW in 2023-24, the Ministry said. PTI ABI ABI MR

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