Summer-wary Energy dept taps solar power, saves coal

The department is working towards adding 750 MW from the Pavagada solar plant to the grid by July. DH file photo

The coal scenario has slightly improved, but the Energy department is moving ahead with caution in utilising the stocks.

The department is running its thermal plants at nearly half their capacity to save energy for the summer ahead. The department officials note that with rising temperatures, the demand for power is also increasing.

Additional chief secretary, Energy department, P Ravi Kumar, told DH that the coal scenario had improved compared to last year, but since part of the demand was being met from solar energy, many thermal units had been shut down. The solar power generation is around 4,300 MW per day and the peak demand for the state is 11,500 MW per day.

Last week, four units of Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) were shut down. All units of Yeramarus Thermal Power Station (YTPS) and one unit of Ballari Thermal Power Station (BTPS) were shut down.

As per records, there is a coal stock of 2,76,263 metric tonnes (MT) in RTPS, 1,54,197 MT in BTPS and 43,500 MT in Yeramarus. This takes the total to 4,74,000 MT.

Around 13,000 MT of coal is being used every day in RTPS and the existing coal stock will last for only the next 15 days. Around 8,000 MT of coal is needed for Yeramarus every day, so the stock will last for around five days. Also around 20,000 MT is needed every day at BTPS and the existing stock will last for not more than 12 days.

Kumar said they are getting around 27,269 MT of coal every day to RTPS and 15,477 MT to Ballari. If all the units of BTPS, YTPS and RTPS run then around 20,000 MT coal is needed every day. So there is a need for a constant supply.

He pointed that though there was no shortage of power, the problem before the department is inadequate infrastructure to supply the power in the coming days when demand increases. Land acquisition to instal towers, solar panels and draw lines has become a challenge.

Kumar said the department was working towards adding 750 MW of solar energy from Pavagad solar plant to the grid by July. At present, 650 MW of solar energy is added to the grid from there. Tenders have been called and from July, a total of 1,150 MW of solar energy from Pavagad will be added to the grid.

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Summer-wary Energy dept taps solar power, saves coal

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