India's hydroelectricity generation climbed 16 per cent this financial year so far, the highest in five years, as the share of power generated from non-fossil fuels jumped to a record high, serving the rising energy demand of the world's fastest-growing major economy.
Power Minister R K Singh said electricity generation in India rose 7.4 per cent in the first quarter ended June 2019, and 6.7 per cent in July.
It was flat in September and tapered in the following month as excess rainfall in several parts of the country reduced demand for air conditioning and irrigation requirement.
"During April-October, electricity generation grew 1.2 per cent. There was a decline in October mainly because of excess rainfall led by a slump in air conditioning requirement. But, to say that this was due to some kind of slowdown in industrial production is nonsensical. There can be nothing further from the truth," he told.
"Yes, October saw electricity generation fall by almost 13 per cent. But, this was only from conventional sources of generation. Renewable sources of electricity were not accounted for. Solar power generation rose in the month and so did hydroelectric power," he said.
The minister said April-October 2019 has seen the highest growth in hydroelectricity generation in five years at 16 per cent (about 96 billion units).
"Some people are deducing of a slowdown from lower plant load factor (or capacity utilization) of coal-fired thermal power plants. But, they forget that lower thermal PLF was made up from higher generation from non-polluting non-fossil sources," he said.
Non-fossil fuel sources accounted for 27.25 per cent of the total power generation in the country in April-October.
He said November has seen an upturn in power generation despite no demand for air conditioning.
"Last year, we saw air conditioners being used right up to December but this year due to excess rainfall there was negligible use of air conditioners in October and no use of them this month," he said explaining the reason for a monthly variation in electricity generation.
October numbers for electricity generation are a "seasonal effect" and not a sustained trend, he said. "To say that there is a deepening industrial slowdown which has led to reduced power generation will be absolutely false," he said.
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