Focus on Renewables At The Cost Of Coal-Based Power May Cause  Power Crisis In India, Say Industry ExpertsRepresentative image. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Energy experts have warned that India could face a power crisis in the near future if the government does not fastrack planning new thermal power plants and power transmission corridors, as reported by Economic Times (ET).

“Not factoring incremental peak demand from revival in industrial activity, our existing capacity and pipeline can at best meet projected peak demand till FY23, post which we will start running peak deficit,” a report by ICICI Securities stated. This conclusion runs counter to the government’s belief that India’s planned capacity is adequate to meet peak demand till 2026-27.

“Record peak demand increase in FY19, driven by increased domestic demand, new connections under Saubhagya and reduction in load shedding, appears structural,” the report noted. Peak power demand breached the historic milestone of 180GW in October 2018.

Over the past four years, the NDA government at the centre has undertaken several measures to move India towards clean energy. However, the reports poses a warning that this continued focus on renewable energy should not come at the cost of ignoring the crucial thermal energy sector. In any case, solar and wind power will account for only 40 per cent of India’s energy needs by 2030.

In 2017, coal-based thermal power plants accounted for nearly three-fourths of India’s energy production. It should also be noted that though India can produce 195 GW of electricity through coal, over 51 GW of capacity in various thermal power plants was stranded due to non-availability of fuel, lack of PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) and under-recoveries.

Also Read: India’s Coal Imports Are An Economic Reality

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