Gas-based power plants to be activated to meet summer electricity demand

To address the escalating electricity demand during the summer season, the Government of India has announced plans to activate gas-based power plants. In a bid to maximize power generation from these stations, the government has issued directives to all gas-based generating stations under Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003. This section empowers the government to specify that a generating company must operate and maintain a generating station as per government directions in extraordinary circumstances.

Currently, a significant portion of gas-based generating stations remains underutilized, mainly due to commercial considerations. The order issued under Section 11, similar to the approach taken for imported-coal-based power plants, aims to enhance the availability of power from gas-based generating stations during the upcoming high-demand period. This order is effective for the generation and supply of power from May 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024.

GRID-INDIA to coordinate gas-based power supply

Under this arrangement, GRID-INDIA will notify gas-based generating stations in advance of the number of days for which gas-based power is required. Gas-based generating stations that hold Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Distribution Licensees are required to offer their power to PPA holders first. Any unutilized power will then be offered in the power market. Gas-based generating stations without PPAs must offer their generation in the power market. To facilitate the implementation of this directive, a high-level committee chaired by the Chairperson of the Central Electricity Authority has been formed.

This decision to activate gas-based generating stations is part of a broader strategy by the Government of India to ensure sufficient power availability during the summer season. Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy Shri R. K. Singh has convened several meetings to underscore the importance of ensuring an adequate power supply to meet the demand during the hot weather.

In addition to the activation of gas-based generating stations, the government has implemented several other measures to address the summer demand:

– Planned maintenance of power plants will be rescheduled to the monsoon season.
– New capacity additions will be expedited.
– Partial outages of thermal power plants will be minimized.
– Surplus power from captive generating stations will be utilized.
– Section 11 Directions have been issued for imported-coal-based power plants to ensure full capacity availability for generation.
– Hydro power generation will be shifted to peak hours.
– Advanced planning by all stakeholders will ensure coal availability.

India’s electricity demand has been steadily increasing, driven by economic growth, particularly during hot-weather and high-demand periods. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted above-normal maximum temperatures across most parts of the country for the 2024 hot weather season. The aforementioned measures are being undertaken to prepare for the anticipated high electricity demand during this period.

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