Major challenge as power demand unlikely to decline, says Centre
India's power, coal and railway ministries face a "major challenge" in ensuring adequate electricity supplies with demand unlikely to decline, power and renewable energy minister RK Singh told ET in an interview. Singh said the directive mandating imported coal-based plants to keep producing power might be extended beyond October and the ministry has facilitated finance to about 4 GW of stressed imported coal-based plants that are expected to be ready to operate in three-four days."My assessment is perhaps this (ad hoc arrangement for imported coal-based projects) will have to continue because I don't see demand coming down. So, I believe the requirement of imported coal for plants will continue for the next two years because expanding coal production takes three years," Singh said. "Expect demand to stay at 200 GW-plus for the coming years. That's good news because it shows our economy has grown. It's a major challenge for us, the coal and railway ministries to ensurepower supplies continue at that level."India's peak power demand hit nearly 215 GW earlier this month amid a heatwave. Though India has nearly 400 GW capacity, about 65 GW, including gas-based stations, is constantly under outage and renewable energy, with a 27% share in capacity, is intermittent. Imported coal plants had stopped producing power after prices of those fuels rallied sharply.