India: Coal Imports Rose by 106% in 2022-23, Says CEA; Demand to Continue to Increase This Summer
India’s coal import increased by 106% in 2022-23 to 55,634.8 tonnes as against 26,998 tonnes in the previous year for both public and private sector thermal plants, according to the data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
Imported coal is used by thermal plants across the country, either as a primary source or blended with local coal. Thus, all thermal plants owned by either the Centre or state governments blend the imported coal with the local one. There are, however, private power plants who use only imported coal.
“Coal import has increased in the last financial year as the demand for power was high and Coal India was not able to supply coal to all thermal units. The Centre has advised power generators to import coal and blend with the local coal. Thus, many power distribution companies (discoms) imported coal,” said a senior CEA official.
The thermal units under the Central government imported a total of 19,117.80 tonnes of coal in 2022-23 as against 2407.7 tonnes in 2021-22. “The thermal units of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) were advised to blend local coal with imported coal. Earlier, it used to be 6% of the imported coal but in the last financial year it increased to 20% as there was a big shortage of local coal,” said the official.
Thermal units owned by state discoms imported a total of 6,620.20 tonnes in 2022-23 against 211.2 tonnes in 2021-22. “In the financial year 2021-22, no other discom apart from TANGEDCO imported coal. But in 2022-23, discoms owned by the Maharashtra government as well as others imported coal,” said the official.
Private generators imported a total of 9,365.90 tonnes against 5,488.40 tonnes in 2021-22. These generators imported coal only to blend it with local coal. But the private plants who use only imported coal imported a total of 19,652.8 tonnes compared to 18,502.9 tonnes in 2021-22.
The current financial year is also expected to see more coal imports as the power demand is increasing. “In 2022-23, for the second year in a row, the Centre ordered the nation’s coal-fired power plants to run at full capacity. But this year’s order is even more sweeping than last year— all coal and oil-fired generators will be maxed out for the entire summer, from April through June. Analysts say it will dramatically increase India’s already sky-high greenhouse gas emissions.
“We expect the demand to increase this year more than our own expectations, after two years of Covid. In summer, use of air conditioners in offices, houses, among others will increase the demand,” said an analyst.