India raises coal import by 35% to aid power plants

After a dip in power generation owing to shortage of coal, thermal power plants across the country may get back to normal generation soon as the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has increased coal import from 54 million tonnes to 73 million tonnes, an increase of 35% for the current fiscal.

The coal being imported will be used to supplement domestic coal. NTPC has been permitted to import 22 million tonnes, the highest among all power companies, followed by Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (5.2MT) and Tangedco (5MT).

NTPC has 17 plants, which use coal as fuel and its combined capacity is 33,675MW. The other companies, which have been permitted to import coal include several private thermal plants like Reliance, Vedanta and Bajaj Energy as well as state-owned power generating and distribution companies. There are also other plants that have been permitted to import coal in small quantities. NTPC is a partner in some of them.

In 2015-16, coal demand for generating power is expected to be 787.03 million tonnes. Permission to import coal is given to plants that blend domestic and imported coal to fuel the furnace. There are also plants which operate only on imported coal, which have high calorific value and yield higher output than domestic coal.

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