The Minister of State (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) for Power, New& Renewable EnergyShri R.K. SINGH informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply today that as per the extant National Electricity Plan, the installed capacity ofthermal power plants of the country, comprising of Coal based and Gas &diesel based plants, is likely to be 243,037 MW in 2021-22 out of a totalprojected Installed Capacity of 479,419 MW. The Plant Load Factor (PLF) of Coalbased capacity in 2021-22 is likely to be 56.5%.
He added that generators supplying power under Power Purchase Agreement(PPA) will not suffer financial loss due to underutilization of their powergeneration capacity as they are entitled to full recovery of fixed charges fromthe beneficiaries subject to achieving the normative availability.
Shri Singh further said that the PLF/generation of thermal, (coal/lignite based) Stations dependson total electricity demand in the country which is affected by climate/weatherconditions, growth of electricity demand in various sectors and generation fromvarious other sources like hydro, nuclear, gas etc. Besides “Must Run Status”has been accorded to Renewable Energy projects (Solar, wind & Small Hydro).Power from such sources get dispatched on priority and is generally fullyutilized. The generation from the hydro power plants is commensurate withavailability of water and is generally fully utilized. Thus, the utilization ofcoal/lignite based plants depends on balance generationrequired from thermalStations and the position of the particular plant in the merit order, resulting inthermal Stations generally operating on low PLF. The PLF of gas basedgeneration is low due to non-availability of gas in the country.
The Minister also informed the House that the government is exploring the possibility of use of cost effectiveenergy storage system e.g. pumped storage hydro plant, Battery storage etc. sothat the electricity generated during off peak period can be stored for useduring peak period. This wouldlead to better utilisation of power generationcapacity of thermal power plants.