After oil, India to tap Russia for cheaper coal
Western sanctions-hit world’s largest country offering coal at discounted prices to India and China; Power demand set to rise as summer temperature generally intensifies from April till July-end; Ministry of Power expects the peak power demand to break previous records
- Govt also asked thermal plants for full capacity utilisation
- Coal accounts for 70% of power generation in India
- Govt asks Railways Ministry for faster imports of coal
- Low ash coking coal in India is scarce, which necessitates imports
- India imports over one-fifth of its coal consumption
New Delhi: The central government has directed thermal power producers to import seven per cent more coal vis-à-vis last year. The move has come to step up preparations for summer. The government is keen that cheaper coals from Russia be imported more, official sources told Bizz Buzz, adding that it is cheaper. Russia is battling sanctions by Western nations, and is thus providing it at discounted prices to China and India.
Russia and Indonesia remain top sources for coal imports. China has already stepped up coal imports from Russia. With the heat situation in the country estimated to intensify from April till July-end, the Ministry of Power is of the view that the demand for electricity will rise. The Ministry expects the peak power demand to break previous records.
Apart from asking to increase the coal imports, the Ministry has called for full capacity utilisation of power plants. Coal accounts for 70 per cent of power generation in India. The Ministry of Power is also in close contact with the Railways Ministry for faster imports of coal in the country.
Low ash coking coal in India is scarce, which necessitates imports. While India is the world’s second-largest producer and consumer of coal, its coal supplies are not adequate. The country imports over one-fifth of its coal consumption.
Last year too, power generation was affected on account of coal shortage. The war in Ukraine made the situation worse as global prices of coal and natural gas zoomed. Coal India, the world’s largest coal company, increased production by 12 per cent last year. The Railways were forced to cancel over a thousand passenger trains to transport more coal to thermal plants. In October 2021 too, there was a power crisis for the same reason with every second thermal plant running critically low. The officials believe that higher coal imports would preclude a similar crisis in the next few months.