Coal supply still grim, state surviving on hydel generation

Coal supply still grim, state surviving on hydel generation
The state government, which was earlier worried that drought would affect power generation, is now in a quandary as excessive rainfall has become a hurdle for getting the coal for its thermal plants.

For the last two weeks, the state continues to be listed in the super critical stage by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) in getting coal and generating thermal energy.

According to CEA officials from Delhi and from Southern Regional Power Committee, the situation will continue to be grim till the end of the monsoon and till mining resumes.

According to the energy department, against the standard reserve of 52,000 tonnes, the state has only 13,000 tonnes of coal, of which 4,000 is with Ballari Thermal Power Station (BTPS) and 9,000 tonnes at Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS). Till September 22, the department had a stock of 22,000 tonnes. “We require at least 25,000 tonnes of coal to run all the machines in the thermal power stations. But due to shortage in coal supply, we have closed down some units,” a senior energy department official seeking anonymity, said.

A senior CEA official from Delhi said the coal situation is grim across India. “As on October 2, BTPS and RTPS required 29,000 tonnes. They have a stock of 4.49 tonnes in Ballari and 8.95 tonnes in Raichur, which can be managed for the time being,” he said.

Karnataka is dependent on Maharashtra, Mahanadi and Singareni coal mines. The state is presently surviving on hydel power generation.

“Due to the grim situation, for the first time, the ministry has put Karnataka on its priority list for coal supply and every day, we are getting four rakes (16,000 tonnes) of coal to generate electricity and if possible store some,” the official said.

The department has closed down two units at RTPS because of lack of coal supply and two more citing maintenance issues. In case of BTPS, one is running, one has been closed down because of lack of coal supply and another because of technical reasons.

The daily coal requirement is 52,000 tonnes. RTPS has eight units with a capacity of 1,720 MW but the present generation is 781 MW. At BTPS, against the installed capacity of 1,700 MW, generation is only 439 MW. While RTPS requires 30,000 tonnes of coal every day, BTPS requires 22,000 tonnes of coal to run all the units. The Yeramarus Thermal Power Station with an installed capacity of 800 MW, has been closed down completely.

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