The country’s goal of ensuring 24×7 electricity supply for all in the country will require doubling the installed power generation capacity of the country.
“Meeting the country’s demand for 24×7 reliable electricity supply will require doubling the installed power generation capacity with at least 50,000 megawatt (MW) to 60,000 MW of thermal power capacity,” a top power sector official told BusinessLine.
According to data compiled by the Central Electricity Authority, the total installed power generation capacity of the country stood at 3,56,100.19 MW in April. This included 2,26,279.34 MW of thermal power generation capacity, 45,399.22 MW of hydro power generation, and 77,641.63 MW of renewable energy generation capacity. Renewable energy includes wind, solar and biomass-based electricity.
“At present, the country’s peak demand for power stands at 1.81 lakh MW. The current installed power generation capacity can comfortably meet this demand. But with more reliable power supplies, we expect annual power demand to grow at 7 per cent,” the official said.
“Since there will be older thermal power plants that are being phased out and the plant load factor (percentage of the actual generation out of installed capacity) from renewable energy projects is close to 20-25 per cent, there will be a need to add substantially high quantity of generation capacity to meet the surge in demand,” he added.
After the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana — Saubhagya scheme, there are 21.3 crore total electrified households in the country.
The scheme alone connected nearly 11 per cent or 2.5 crore homes new in two years.
At present, agricultural consumers are offered 7 to 8 hours of power supplies throughout the day, barring Telangana where they are supplied 24 hours free power. For domestic consumers, the average power supply is closer to 20 hours a day, the official said.