Power generation from conventional sources shot up, aided by a remarkable recovery in industrial and commercial demand as the country registered a new milestone during the month of Apr '21.
The tentative data provided by the Power ministry showed that power generation grew 43% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 115.52 BU billion units (BU) in Apr '21 compared to 81.05 BU in Apr '20. The output attained in the period was a multi-year high witnessed for the month of April, and has been sustained despite the set-back received on account of Covid-19.
Notably, the robust growth in Apr '21 was recorded on the back of a weaker base period of Apr '20 when fewer economic activities were seen following the imposition of the national lock-down, which resulted in a drastic fall in power generation.
Nevertheless, generation output in the month of Apr '21 grew 6% compared to the Covid-free month of Apr '19. In the entire financial year of 2019-20 (FY '20), the country had registered its highest generation volume from conventional sources.
Added responsibility on coal-fired plants:
On a month-on-basis, generation from conventional sources in the month of Apr '21 recorded a slight dip of 3% compared to 118.77 BU in the month of Mar '21. Incidentally, both months recorded excess electricity generation against the set target.
Data on source-wise power generation indicates that output from other sources (excluding thermal plants) had decreased y-o-y during Apr '21, which required coal-fired plants to operate at a higher plant load factor (PLF) in order to meet the elevated electricity demand.
Contribution from coal-fired plants, which constitute a major share in thermal power output, was recorded at 97.16 BU in Apr '21. Notably, the plants were operating at a PLF of 66.89%, which was more than the overall PLF of 54.56% assessed in FY '21.
Higher coal consumption, as a result of rising electricity demand, had assisted power plants to lower their excess inventories. Coal stock at the power plants fell by around 53% to 23.87 million tonnes (mn t) at the end of Apr '21 compared to 50.89 mn t in the year-ago period, as per the the data provided by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
However, further improvement is likely to be impacted following the strict restrictions being imposed due to the second wave of Covid-19.