Coal Crisis | Ratul Puri

Coal crisis and the road to overcome it – Ratul Puri

Coal Crisis | Ratul Puri
Source: DNA India

Heat waves this year have caused an acute energy shortage, particularly for coal, the country’s dominant energy source. In less than a year, the country has faced its second coal sector crisis, leading to nationwide power supply issues. According to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air’s (CREA), another energy crisis is expected in July-August due to the low stock of coal at thermal power plants in and around the country.

Although the world’s second-largest producer and consumer of coal and the government claiming that coal production in the past few years has increased, the country is now witnessing a significant energy shortage. Reports suggested that the maximum all-India power demand crossed a record 201 gigawatt (GW) mark in April as large parts of the country were experiencing a heatwave. That is not all; the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that India’s energy needs will rise more than any other nation over the next two decades due to its population of more than 1.3 billion.

Thermal plants meet nearly 70% of India’s power demand. After lockdowns, international price fluctuations, and the Ukraine invasion, manufacturing activity rose, leading to soaring coal prices, which in turn impacted the country’s coal imports. As per recent Central Electricity Authority (CEA) data, coal stockpiles have been at their lowest since 2017. As part of its efforts to increase imports, the Indian government has warned utilities that they would face a shortage of domestically mined coal if they fail to build up their coal inventories through imports.

According to Ratul Puri, Chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects (HPPPL), “In the face of renewable energy intermittency and the potential for extreme weather conditions, adequate power reserves are needed to ensure grid resilience. It is important to note that around 11% of total electricity is generated by hydroelectricity, followed by wind and solar energy, which account for about 8%. With an increasing share of renewable energy, grid flexibility and transmission networks are also evolving. We should all contribute to recycling solar panels, wind turbine blades, and batteries to ensure clean, renewable energy.”

Through Hindustan Powerprojects, Mr. Ratul Puri is working to establish the most efficient way to provide the lowest cost fuel supply support to the planned coal-based thermal power generation. With the growing mining business, the company intends to diversify into the mining value chain from mineral and mining consultancy to the most preferred coal supplier internally and externally.

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