Coal Road Map: Road-Map To Reduce Dependence On Import Of Fuel For Power Generation

POWER SECTOR

Coal Road Map: Road-Map To Reduce Dependence On Import Of Fuel For Power Generation

Energetica India

Due to inadequate availability of domestic coal, power utilities were advised to import coal for blending. Coal India Ltd. (CIL) has taken initiative for substitution of imported with domestic coal since 2016. Coal India, in this pursuit, has devised customized strategy as per suitability of each power station and has already started the process of substitution of imported coal with domestic coal for many power plants.

Power utilities are importing coal to bridge the shortfall in the availability of domestic coal as well as to meet the requirement of coal for power generation in the power plants designed on imported coal. In the past, power utilities were advised to import coal to maintain the stipulations of Ministry of Environment and Forest regarding use of coal of less than 34% ash content and to occasionally supplement the coal from indigenous sources. Due to inadequate availability of domestic coal, power utilities were advised to import coal for blending. The details of coal imported by power utilities to meet the shortfall in the availability of domestic coal and to meet the requirement of power plants designed on imported coal since 2012-13 to 2017-18 (April-Oct) are as shown below in Table 1 and Chart 1.

Road-Map to reduce dependence on import of Coal for power generation

Under the guidance of Ministry of Coal, Coal India Ltd. (CIL) has taken initiative for substitution of imported with domestic coal since 2016. Coal India, in this pursuit, has devised customized strategy as per suitability of each power station and has already started the process of substitution of imported coal with domestic coal for many power plants.

i. Reduce import for blending to zero

The coal imported for blending during 2016-17 and 2017-18 (April-October) was about 19.8 million tonnes (mt) and 9.6 mt.Normally, the grade of coal being imported for blending is about 5400 kCal/kg. Domestic coal of equivalent grade and quantity may be provided to the plants importing coal for blending. This may be safeguarded through enhancement of ACQ and signing of supplementary FSA/MoU.

ii. Reduce Import for plants designed on Imported Coal

  1. The coal based plants designed on imported coal have imported 46.3 mt and 24.0 mtcoal during 2016-17 and 2017-18 (April-October).
  2. As per the draft National Electricity Plan, the import of coal required for imported coal based power plants would be around 50 mt by 2021-22.
  3. As the quality of imported coal is superior to that of domestic coal (less ash content), replacing imported coal to domestic coal may be done keeping in view of the technical feasibility of operation of the plant.
  4. Landed price of the imported coal may also be taken into consideration apart from the grade of coal for substitution of the imported coal. The domestic coal equivalent in gross calorific value to imported coal is available with some mines of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) and South-Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), which may be used to substitute some part of the imported coal keeping in view other parameters of coal quality.

iii. Increase in production and availability of domestic coal

  1. The production and availability of domestic coal to power sector needs to be augmented.
  2. Environment clearances/Forest clearances/Land acquisition needs to be expedited.
  3. CIL has prepared a roadmap to substantially enhance production of coal by 2019-20 to 1 btby adding capacity from new projects, use of mass production technologies and identification of existing on-going projects with growth potential.

iv. Better Transportation of domestic coal

  1. With increase in production of domestic coal, coal needs to be transported to the power plants located at various locations in the country in optimum time. Therefore, Railways need to improve its infrastructure so that sufficient rakes would be available to lift coal from the coal mines/sidings for delivering it to the power plants.
  2. Coordination between Railways and coal companies to be improved further for making optimum utilization of resources.

Road Map to reduce import of Natural gas for power generation

  1. At present, the country is facing deficit in supply of domestic gas-to-gas based power plants. Due to shortage of gas and as per the requirement of the State, Natural Gas is being imported by gas based power plants. However, due to high price of imported gas (RLNG), cost of generation on RLNG is substantially higher than domestic gas.
  2. The gas based plants have consumed 6.89 MMSCMD (million metric standard cubic meter per day) and 8.71 MMSCMD imported gas during 2016-17 and 2017-18 (April-October).
  3. In order to reduce dependency on imported gas, the availability of domestic gas to power sector needs to be augmented. During 2017-18 (upto Oct,17) averaged domestic gas supply to power plants is around 22 MMSCMD against the total allocation of around 87 MMSCMD.
  4. Gas pipeline infrastructure also needs to be augmented for transportation of natural gas so that gas available at a remote field may be transported to power plants.
  5. MOPNG has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to augment gas supplies and bridge the gap between supply and demand for the domestic market. However, the domestic gas supply to power sector is still very low. MOPNG may be impressed upon for additional allocation of natural gas for power sector.

Source: “Report of Committee On Optimal Energy Mix In Power Generation On Medium and LongTerm Basis.” Ministry of Power, Government Of India.

 

| Article published on 19/04/2018 by Rashmi Nargundkar

 
 
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