India is currently undergoing its worst energy crisis. Many states in India are reporting power outages as the country’s coal-fired power stations face shortages.
According to reports, India is suffering its worst energy crisis in October since March 2016. Power supply fell about 750 million kilowatt-hours short of demand during the first 12 days of October.
The shortage comes as India increased its economic activity after the second wave of the pandemic drove up demand for coal. As a result, the coal supply witnessed a shortage. The shortage is further leading to a decline in output because many states are facing power outages of up to 14 hours.
Criticism is racking up for the BJP led government as Modi fails to handle a crisis for the second time. The first failure came during the pandemic when oxygen in India ran low.
Now a shortage of coal supplies is hitting thermal power plants that produce electricity. Out of 135 power plants dependent on coal for electricity, 70 are facing a crisis. According to Indian media reports, 20 thermal power stations have been shut down.
Amid fears of shortages, the Modi government should have increased local production but it failed to do so.
The global coal shortage is starting to trigger blackouts in India 🇮🇳 🪨
Power plants are running out of coal, triggering rolling blackouts in regions including Rajasthan
(About two-thirds of India’s coal power plants have stockpiles of a week or less)https://t.co/3fDnn6eEZd
— Stephen Stapczynski (@SStapczynski) October 12, 2021
Govt. denies claims of energy crisis
Interestingly, the Ministry of Coal tried to reassure the public that ample coal was available in the country to meet the demand for power plants. Any fears of a disruption in the power supply were entirely misplaced.
“The coal stock at power plant end is about 72 (7.2 million) Lakh tonnes, sufficient for 4 days requirement, and that the Coal India Limited (CIL) end is more than 400 Lakh (40 million) tonnes, which is being supplied to the power plants,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry also said that domestic coal-based power generation had grown by almost 24% this year, until September 2021, based on a robust supply from coal companies. However, the extended monsoon season constrained supplies.
While the ministry reassures the public, the closing of thermal plants and long hours of power outages suggest otherwise.
As India faces another crisis, it is important that the government take urgent measures. Perhaps this coal crisis can be a point of cooperation for India and Pakistan since the latter’s Thar Coal is one of the largest lignite coal reserves in the world. It holds approximately 175 billion tonnes of coal reserves.