CIL moves to import coal for first time as power demand tops 210 GW

NEW DELHI: India’s peak power demand shot past 210 gigawatts (GW) at 3 p.m on Tuesday to smash the previous record of 209.8 GW hit a day earlier, even as Coal India Ltd (CIL) invited bids for importing coal for the first time with the aim of helping generation companies build up fuel inventories for the rainy season.
Reflecting the rising demand, energy consumption — or units of power consumed —also clocked a historic 4,712 million units (MU) on and gross generation across the country stood reached highest-ever at 4,824 MU on Tuesday as a result of the government’s efforts to ensure 24X7 affordable power for all, power minister R K Singh tweeted.
The steady rise in demand, sustained by continued heat wave due a break in the monsoon and expanding economic activities, amid low coal stocks at a majority of power plants indicate the resilience in the fuel supply chain system in spite of logistical challenges. The increased availability of wind and hydro power is also helping ease pressure on railways for transporting coal.
CIL’s tender for importing 2.4 million tonnes of coal in the July-September period is aimed at building inventories at seven state gencos and 19 independent power plants.
The move follows the Centre ordering states and gencos to import coal for 10% blending with domestic supply. Subsequently, states suggested a single-point procurement to avoid unwanted competition that would have pushed up coal prices further. CIL was then given the mandate.
CIL is seeking coal with gross calorific value of 5,000 kilo calorie, which will replace twice the volume of domestic coal. CIL will ship in the coal at nine ports in the east and west coasts and deliver to the power plants. The tender does not specify the source of the coal but has a provision for 30% variation in the quantity. The bids close on June 29.
After the price discovery, CIL will execute a contract with the successful bidder for supply of coal and a back-to-back agreement with state gencos and power plants who have indented the fuel.

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