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India’s Coal Consumption Rises Amid Lower Hydropower Output

India has raised the share of coal in its power generation this month as sharply lower hydropower output is threatening blackouts as summer approaches.

The share of coal in India’s power generation jumped to 77% in the first week of April, rising by around 2 percentage points compared to the same period of 2023, per data from the Grid Controller of India cited by Bloomberg.

The higher coal use in the country has been compensating for much lower power generation from hydro resources as India braces for the summer months and the general elections later this month and in May.

Hydropower production slumped by 11% in March compared to the same month of 2023, according to the data.   

India will rely on what is expected to be a ‘normal’ monsoon season in 2024 for hydropower generation. Skymet expects sufficiently good rains in the South, West, and Northwest regions in the four-month monsoon period this summer, Indian media reported today.

However, with sufficient rainfall yet to materialize in the upcoming monsoon season, India is boosting its coal-fired power generation, expecting continuously rising electricity demand.

India’s power demand rose by 7% in 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its Electricity 2024 report earlier this year. The country will see growth of above 6% on average annually until 2026, supported by strong economic activity and expanding ownership of air conditioners, according to the Paris-based agency.

“Over the next three years, India will add electricity demand roughly equivalent to the current consumption of the United Kingdom. While renewables are set to meet almost half of this demand growth, one-third is expected to come from rising coal-fired generation,” the IEA noted.


To meet soaring power demand, India announced at the end of last year it would increase the size of its thermal power fleet by adding another 88 GW of new power capacity by early 2032—63% more than the plan that India had published a few months earlier. And most of the new capacity will be coal-fired power, with gas-fired electricity generation unavailable to India due to the high cost of natural gas.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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