Coal India Ltd (CIL) has produced 137 MT of the fuel in Q1 FY20, inching up only 0.1% year-on-year (y-o-y). The miner supplied 119.6 MT of the fuel to power plants in the quarter, which is 3.2% lower than corresponding quarter the previous fiscal. At the end of Q1, power plants across the country had stocked up 30.6 MT of coal, 53% more than the levels in end-June during 2018. On top of that, CIL has a stock of about 33 MT.
A CIL spokesperson told FE that since there was a significant rise in power generation from nuclear, hydro and other renewable energy sources, coal-based power plants now have significant stock with them and electricity production will not be affected due to fuel shortage. Breaching the 600 MT production level for the first time, the world’s largest coal miner produced 607 MT of the fuel in FY19, recording an annual growth of 7%.
According to experts, coal cannot be stockpiled beyond a certain quantity without the risk of catching fire. Power plants across the country imported 18.4 MT of the fuel in the quarter, up 41% y-o-y. The rise in thermal coal import can be attributed to Adani Power and Tata Power increasing production from their power plants located in Mundra, Gujarat. These power plants, each more than 4,000 MW capacity, imported 7.5 MT of coal in Q1, 127% higher than last year.
Tata Power Mundra plant’s Q1 utilisation level increased to 80.1% (from 67.6% in the corresponding period last year), while Adani Power’s Mundra unit saw its plant load factor (PLF) rising in the quarter to 80.7% from a meagre 17%. Electricity produced by conventional power plants (coal, gas, hydro, nuclear) in Q1 FY20 recorded a rise of 6.3% y-o-y. Coal-powered units (included imported coal-based) produced 266.6 billion units (BU), up 4.8% y-o-y.
Hydro power plants produced 39.5 BUs in the quarter, 25% more than Q1 FY19 and nuclear power stations generated 11 BU, up 10%.
Renewable energy-based plants — comprising nearly 22% of the installed generation capacity — is gradually catering more to the incremental power demand and lightening the burden on coal power plants.