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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Government Implements Measures to Activate Gas-based Power Plants

In order to help meet the high electricity demand in the country during the summer season, the Government of India has decided to operationalize gas-based power plants. To ensure maximum power generation from Gas-Based Generating Stations, the Government has issued directions to all Gas-Based Generating Stations under Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003 (under which the appropriate government may specify that a generating company shall, in extraordinary circumstances operate and maintain any generating station in accordance with the directions of that Government).

A significant portion of the Gas-Based Generating Stations (GBSs) is currently unutilized, primarily due to commercial considerations. The order under Section 11, which is on similar lines as done for imported-coal-based power plants, aims to optimise the availability of power from Gas-Based Generating Stations during the ensuing high demand period. The order shall remain valid for generation and supply of power from May 1, 2024 to June 30, 2024. The order can be accessed here.

GRID-INDIA to inform Gas-based Generating Stations of Power Requirement

As per the arrangement, GRID-INDIA will inform the Gas-based Generating Stations in advance, of the number of days for which Gas-based power is required. Gas-Based Generating Stations holding Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Distribution Licensees shall first offer their power to PPA holders. If the power offered is not utilised by any PPA holder, then it shall be offered in the power market. Gas-Based Generating Stations not tied to PPAs must offer their generation in the power market. A high-level committee headed by Chairperson, Central Electricity Authority has been constituted to facilitate the implementation of this direction.

The decision to operationalize gas-based generating stations is part of a series of measures taken by the Government of India, to ensure that the electricity demand in the summer season is met. The Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy Shri R. K. Singh held a series of meetings on this, emphasizing the need for ensuring adequate availability of power to meet the load during the hot-weather season.

Other Measures to Meet Summer Electricity Demand

The government has taken the following measures to meet the summer demand, apart from the decision on gas-based generating stations:

  • Planned Maintenance of Power Plants to be shifted to Monsoon Season
  • New Capacity Additions to be Speeded up
  • Partial Outages of Thermal Power Plants being brought down
  • Surplus Power with Captive Generating Stations to be Utilized
  • Surplus Power to be offered for sale in Energy Exchange
  • Section 11 Directions for Imported-Coal-Based Power Plants, to make full capacity available for generation
  • Shifting of hydro power generation to peak hours
  • Advance planning by all stakeholders to ensure coal availability

India’s electricity demand has been rising rapidly, driven by economic growth, particularly during hot-weather and high-demand periods. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted above-normal maximum temperatures over most parts of the country during the 2024 hot weather season. The above measures are being taken in this context, in anticipation of the high electricity demand during the season.

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