POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, India

India's electricity generation slipped 1.5% to 100.4 billion units in January

The decline was attributed to a 1% YoY decline in thermal generation.

All-India electricity generation, excluding renewables, dipped 1.5% YoY to 100.4 billion units in January due to a 1.0% YoY decline in thermal generation, according to offset partially by a 7.1% increase in hydro generation, according to India Ratings and Research’s (Ind-Ra) latest report on the country’s power sector.

The decline was however partially offset by a 7.1% increase in hydro generation, the report noted.

In January 2019, the increase in all-India energy requirements was found to be limited to 1.1% YoY, driven by an elongated winter season. “Available energy increased 1.2% YoY, leaving a power deficit of 0.5% from January 2018’s 0.6%. The increase in available energy in January 2019 seems to have further been supported by the higher renewable generation of 10.5% YoY to 9.0BUs in December 2018. Ind-Ra expects similar growth to have been registered in January 2019,” said Ind-Ra corporates analyst Bhanu Patni.

Meanwhile, short-term power prices remained subdued at $0.048 (INR3.33) per kWh, driven by lower demand from north India on account of the ongoing winters; although the prices edged up 4.1% YoY.

The report also noted that thermal plant load factors PLFs declined to 60.5% YoY from 62.9% in 2018 on the back of lower electricity demand and higher generation from other sources, thus reducing the reliance on thermal generation. However, PLF for the April-January 2019 period grew 3% YoY to 61.06%.

“Although no new capacity was added in January 2019 and capacity addition remained weak for the April-January 2019 period as well at -52.0% YoY, India still remains dependent on coal-based power generation with the total coal-based capacity at 197.5GW,” Patni highlighted.

Patni pointed out how Coal India’s monthly coal production increased by 0.9% YoY to 57.2mt in January 2019. Additionally, the number of power plants with subcritical levels of coal was found to have declined to six in January 2019 from 2018 and nine in December 2018, supported by the lower electricity demand, higher generation from hydro and renewables, and a 39.6% YoY increase in coal inventory at power stations to 20.2mmt. 

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