A silicon waste alert for our creaky power sector

Context: India’s power crisis is best described by a disconnect between installed capacity and availability that must be sorted out.

What are the major reasons behind the power shortage in the country?

India has an installed capacity to generate almost 400 gigawatts of electricity, and about 40% of it cleanly. But a surge in peak demand to nearly 205 gigawatts, amid the blistering heatwave in the April, led to frequent power outages in various parts of the country.

Shortage of coal: Coal shortage can be attributed to following two reasons: – a) a rise in demand from pre-covid peaks that traced a revival in the Indian economy, even as extra power was guzzled by an early AC season amid record temperatures, b) the Ukraine war made prices of coal spike.

As Indian coal importers looked to domestic sources, local stuff fell short.

– Problems with the discom sector: Most discoms in India are state-run entities that are strapped for cash and stretched out of shape by a status quo at the usage end of the market, where theft and freebies are rampant and subsidy-transfer delays from state coffers are routine.

Way forward

India needs to go for end-to-end reforms that could link demand and supply efficiently.

Source: This post is based on the article “A silicon waste alert for our creaky power sector” published in Livemint on 2nd May 22.

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