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Coal stocks in India have reached critically low levels as increased economic activity, high world market prices and domestic production disruptions due to the monsoon season have created a quagmire for coal power plants. More than half of the country’s plants have been put on alert for outages, Bloomberg reports.
According to the Central Electricity Authority at the Indian Ministry of Power, 80 percent of Indian coal power plants listed by the authority are currently experiencing critical supply shortages, with coal stocks down to the equivalent less than seven days of operation. As of Oct 4, 30 percent of all listed plants were even down to just one day or no days at all of coal stocks to fall back on.
The plants affected also represent 80 percent of coal megawatt hour capacity in the country that is still heavily dependent on coal despite recent gains in renewable energy production. The Ember Global Electricity Review list India as the sixth most reliant on coal on the world as more than 70 percent of electricity is generated by burning coal.
In China, which ranks 11th, power outages are already happening due to the coal crunch. While the country is facing some of the same problems, like increasing economic activity and high coal prices, the crisis is further deepened by the central government’s previous decision to slow coal production to promote renewable energies.
Number of days for which coal reserves exist at Indian power plants registered with the Central Electricity Authority (as of Oct 4, 2021).