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Power sector bounces back in 2014

EM News Bureau ,  Thursday, February 26, 2015, 16:16 Hrs  [IST]

The power sector has done appreciably well in the first nine months of FY15, at least in terms of electricity generation. While it would take some time before new generation capacities come on stream, at the existing capacities are being utilized better, leading to lower deficits, notes Dr M.S. Kapadia.

The power sector has enjoyed strong growth under the Modi government during the first nine months of the ongoing FY15. Ex-bus power availability, broadly generation net of normative in-house auxiliary consumption, increased 8.9 per cent over the period, reversing the slide in the preceding two fiscals that had seen the growth rate go down from 8.8 per cent in FY12 to 5.9 per cent in the following year and a low of 5.6 per cent in FY14 (5.8 per cent in the first three quarters of the year).

Sarni1.pngReflecting revival in the economy, power requirement, which had stagnated during the preceding fiscal, bounced back with 8.3 per cent increase, speeding from 7.8 per cent increase during H1. A marked increase in power requirement notwithstanding, deficit eased to 3.9 per cent, from 4.5 per cent during April-December 2013 and a high of 8.7 per cent in the similar period of 2012-13, because of tepid demand during 2013-14 and stepped-up pace in power generation during April-December 2014-15. The period also saw a sturdy 22 per cent increase annually in conventional power capacity addition, which is a sharp contrast to 12 per cent fall in capacity addition during April-December 2013.

sarni2.pngIn fact, the cumulative deficit over April-December was the lowest over the past seven-eight years. The feat is remarkable as it has been achieved in spite of a decent increase in power requirement, a proxy indicator for economy expansion. This achievement is also distinctly better than that projected in Load Generation Balance Report: 2014-15 released in May last. Whereas power requirement has turned out to be 3.3 per cent higher than projection, power availability has surpassed projection by 4.5 per cent; which culminated in a lower average deficit of 4 per cent, as compared with 4.6 per cent projected in LGBR.

Intra-period, the increase in power requirement accelerated from around 6 per cent during Q1 to 9+ per cent in the next two quarters. The growth rate in power availability was maintained at 9+ per cent over the first three quarters of the year. The cumulative power deficit declined steadily from 4.4 per cent in April to 3.9 per cent in December.

The peak power demand met/supply deficit was assessed at 4.7 per cent during April-December, against around 4.1-4.2 per cent in the similar period in preceding two fiscals, but much lower than 9 per cent during April-December 2011.

Sarni3.pngWestern region which accounts for 30 per cent of the country’s power needs escaped with only 0.9 per cent shortfall during April-December; more or less same the same measure in the corresponding year a year ago. All states falling in the region rendered them equitably well during the period. Northern region with nearly one-third share in the country’s power needs suffered 6.6 per cent (6.3 per cent) cumulative deficit; Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, which suffered deficit of 16.4 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, accounted for most of this deficit. Southern region with 24 per cent share found deficit measure go down from 7.3 per cent to 4.7 per cent. Andhra Pradesh suffered 6.2 per cent, Telangana 7.9 per cent, while the metrics for Karnataka and Tamil Nadu stood at 5 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively.

There were five states, which escaped power deficit during April-December; the major one in this category was Gujarat whose power availability of 72,920 million kwh fell only marginally short of its requirement of 72,944 million kwh during the period. In fact, the state had remained self-sufficient in its power needs in the preceding fiscal also. Some states with above-all India shortfall included Jammu & Kashmir (20 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (16.4 per cent), recently-formed Telangana (7.9 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (6.2 per cent) and Karnataka, (5 per cent).

Total power generation in conventional public utilities increased 9.9 per cent during April-December, speeding from 5.4 per cent in the corresponding period of 2013-14 and 4.6 per cent in this period two years back. The performance also surpassed generation planned for the period by 3.7 per cent. Following deficient and erratic southwest monsoon leading to deficient hydropower, thermal power generation stepped up 13.1 per cent, four times 3 per cent in this period a year ago and nearly a half time better than 8.6 per cent in this period two yeas back. The pace was in fact a record high in recent years. Hydropower showed 4 per cent decline, against 19 per cent strong growth during April-December period of 2013-14. Nuclear power was marginally less, and hydropower import from Bhutan 9 per cent lower. Intra-period, hydropower had declined during July-August which was compensated by stepped-up thermal power during these months.

While thermal and hydropower generation exceeded the planned generation for H1, nuclear power fell slightly short. Overall, power generation was 104 per cent of the target.

Among the fuel-based classification, power generation in coal-based thermal was up 14.8 per cent with IPP notching up 37.8 per cent rise. Central utilities expanded power generation by 6.3 per cent and state utilities 10 per cent. PLF in coal-based Central utilities was the highest at 74 per cent against 61 per cent in IPP plants and 58 per cent in state utilities. Power generation in lignite-based plants increased 9.6 per cent. Overall, PLF was 64.9 per cent in coal-based plants and 73.6 per cent in lignite-based power. However lignite accounts for only around 4-5 per cent in total thermal power capacity. PLF at nuclear power stations worked out to 79 per cent.

Among the ownership categories, power generation at Central government-owned utilities increased 3.1 per cent during April-December, that under state utilities 6.1 per cent and the same under private sector 28.2 per cent, bulk of it under IPP that shot up 32 per cent. In fact, private sector utilities recorded 5 per cent decline in generation. Overall, Central utilities accounted for 37 per cent of power generation, state utilities 35 per cent and private sector the balance 27-28 per cent.

Among the regions, generation in northern region increased 6.9 per cent, the same in western region was up 17.6 per cent due to strong generation growth by thermal stations in the region. Power generation showed 5.2 per cent increase in southern region and 6.3 per cent in eastern regions. Power generation in north-eastern region showed 15 per cent increase due to 45 per cent shoot-up in thermal generation. At 74 per cent, PLF in thermal stations in the southern region was the highest among the regions; at 60 per cent, it was the lowest in eastern region.

Capacity Addition
The first three quarters of the ongoing fiscal has seen addition of 10,610 mw under conventional power capacity, showing 22 per cent increase over 8,728 mw added during the corresponding period of 2013-14, which, however, reflected 12 per cent decline, compared to 9,869 mw added during April-December 2012. The April-December 2014 feat was made possible because of 23 per cent strong growth in thermal power capacity addition. Nuclear power drew blank, as in the corresponding period of 2013-14, while at 336 mw, the hydro power capacity addition was 16 per cent less annually. Also, taking April 2012-December 2014 period of the ongoing 12th plan, which is 11 quarters of the 20 quarters of the plan period, the picture is reassuring. Thus, with an augmentation of 49,058 mw over the period, the period has seen achievement of 55 per cent of the target of 88,537 mw fixed for the plan period. Thermal power addition for the period was assessed at 47,163 mw and hydro power at 1,895 mw: nuclear power drew blank.

On a broader canvas, the country had aggregate generation facility of 255,681 mw at the end of the calendar year 2014, comprising 178,342 mw in thermal power, 48,867 mw in large hydro, 4,780 mw in nuclear power and 31,692 mw in rapidly increasing renewable energy sources like small hydropower of less than 25 mw, biomass, solar energy, urban & industrial waste power, wind energy, etc.

As a result of an accelerating renewable energy sources (RES) its share in total installed capacity has shot up to 12.3 per cent at the end of December 2014, Sarni4.pngfrom 5.9 per cent in March 2007. Small hydropower constitutes 3,804 mw, wind power 21,136 mw, bio-power 4,120 mw and solar power 2,632 mw in RES. The share of coal-based thermal power capacity In conventional power has gone up to 69 per cent from 57 per cent in FY07, while that of hydropower has gone down 28 per cent to 18 per cent, gas-based from 11 per cent to 10 per cent and nuclear from 3 per cent to one per cent. Diesel-fired capacity has stagnated at 1,200 mw.

Helped largely by non-conventional sources of energy the private sector accounts for 36 per cent of total grid interactive utility, state sector 37 per cent and central sector the remaining 27 per cent. Almost 90 per cent of RES falls in private sector, with state agencies accounting for the balance of around 10 per cent. Looking at recent trends, private sector would soon become the major ownership segment in power infrastructure facilities.

Sarni5.pngWestern region leads other regions in terms of power infrastructure; the region accounts for 36 per cent of total installed capacity in the country, followed by northern region (27 per cent), southern region (24 per cent), eastern region (12 per cent) and northeastern region and islands just around one-two per cent. Western region leads in thermal power capacity, northern region in hydropower and southern region in RES. Among the states, Maharashtra leads with 35,827 mw capacity, followed by Gujarat 28,422 mw and Tamil Nadu 21,793 mw.
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