CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu requires an additional 3.4 million tonnes of imported coal to stave off power crisis this year. It is 60 per cent more than what it imported last year and the increased import comes in the wake of shortage of domestic coal supply even as the demand for thermal power is increasing in the state as more power plants will reach full capacity this year.
Last year while TANGEDCO had a fuel supply agreement for 20 million tonnes of domestic coal, what finally came in was just about 13.1 million tonnes.
This meant that the corporation had to take to 5.6 million tonnes of imported coal to meet its demand. But this time the requirement has taken a further leap
“Last year, the three power stations including the two units of 600 MW each at the North Chennai Thermal Power Station and one at the Mettur Thermal Power Station did not achieve full capacity.
“As they would start full fledged operations, the TANGEDCO needs nine million tonnes of imported coal this year”, said sources with the TANGEDCO.
Meanwhile, in the next few years, as the number of coal-based plants are added to the state, including those in Udangudi, Kattupali and for the Ennore Expansion Thermal Power Project, increasing coal imports are imminent.
As per estimate, with these plants getting commissioned in the next four years, the demand for coal would increase by over 35 percent. A large chunk of this increase will have to come from imports since the domestic coal supply has already fallen short of demand.
A World Bank Report, titled “More Power To India” released last month points out that coal exploration in the 11th Five-Year Plan was actually less than what was accomplished in the tenth Five-Year Plan, and only about 70 percent of the target was achieved.
India’s coal production target for 2011/12, was lowered during the 11th Five-Year Plan, from 680 million tonnes to 554. But, even the reduced target was not met and actual production fell short of the original target by about 21 percent, the report says.
Interestingly, TNEB has asked Ennore Port to increase its coal handling to 34 million tonnes in the next five years. This means TNEB’s demand for coal would triple in the next five years.