____________________________________________________________________________ Pavan Patel*
The world’s worst power outage affected 600 million people, business worth an estimated $1.5 billion was lost, trains stopped, flight schedules were thrown out of gear, and miners were trapped, in deep coal shafts and hospitals had to switch the emergency operators. That’s half of the population in the darkness on 31st July 2012. This is because of the failures of three grids in supplying to north, eastern, north eastern regions of the country. In recent times power outrages made headlines in US, Canada, Brazil and Greece. This is not exception to India, but this crisis in not an ordinary crisis, because investors are looking infrastructure support from the government of India. Repeated grid failures may create a negative opinion about India in international market. Industry experts concur that there is serious shortage of electricity in India. The annexure- III explains very clearly that power loss is taking place that power projects that get delayed or stalled for want of environment forest coal block clearance and public agitations. Ministry of power had to battle serious fuel linkages that required generating power and environmental issues, apart land acquisition problems through people agitations. -------------------------------------------------
Currently, India has a total installed capacity of 2, 05,339 MW, but on a bad day fuel problems, maintenance can pare this to 1, 30,000 MW. The deficit worsened in recent weeks because of poor supply of fuel, poor monsoon rains, falling reservoirs, level high temperatures, farmers to rely on clerical pumps to irrigate their land. This black out was a disaster waiting to happen. An official admits from ministry of power that “as it is hydel generation is less than 50 percent because of deficit water in reservoirs and many thermal plants are not running to optimum level because inadequate coal supply. Dr. Pavan Patel, Professor, SSIM, Kompally, Secundarabad, Andhra Pradesh. KVS Krishnamohan, Associate Professor, Kompally, Secundarabad, Andhra Pradesh.
Coal supply and demand scenario in India: Mr.Venugopal Dhoot, Chairman of Videocon Industries points out “the power sector is facing problems in terms of fuel supply linkages, land acquisitions and environmental concern are address by the government, we may miss our target of adding100, 000 MW capacity in the 12th five year plan, he further emphasized that “ the coal sector inefficacy is creeping into the power sector. One more expert said that “today 35,000MW of coal –fired projects are working on less than 40 percent of the installed capacity due to lack of coal supply” told by Mr.Ashok Khurana, Director general of Association of Private Power Producers, which represents 24 companies. Ministry of Environment and Forest raised the hackles of the coal ministry by putting 203 blocks in the “no-go” mining areas under forest cover. The coal ministry had that the country could lose access to around 660 million tonnes of coal due to this classification. Coal from these blocks was supposed to feed the thermal power plants. Annexure-III highlighted list of at least nine power projects based on information from CII that were stalled or delayed due to want of environment/forest clearness or due public agitations. Thermal plants constituting almost 66% of the total installed power capacity in India. In spite of knowing this fact and India has some of the largest coal reserves in the world (approximately 270 billion tons) domestic suppliers are tardy at best. This may be because of coal production in handled by Coal India Limited (CIL), which is often criticized for insufficient production supply to meet demand. However, CIL can only supply about 60% of our power plants coal demand. CIL’s monopolistic position has often resulted in supply bottlenecks, delays in...