Peak Power Demand Touches a Record 246 GW as Northern India Sizzles

On May 29, 2024, when the temperature in India’s capital, New Delhi, touched a scorching 52.3 degrees Celsius, the peak day-time power demand met saw a new high at 246.06 GW.

The highest temperature was recorded at one of Delhi’s weather stations, and meteorological officials said they were investigating whether the measuring sensors were working correctly there.

According to the Grid Controller of India, a peak power demand of 86.65 GW was met in Northern India, which is reeling under severe temperatures this summer. The mercury has consistently soared above 45 degrees across several regional towns and cities for several days.

The maximum energy demand met during non-solar hours was 234.35 GW, with a shortage of 13.25 GW. There was no shortage during the solar hours.

Generation from all power sources totaled 5,814 million units (MU). Renewables accounted for 1,048 MU, while coal contributed the most at 3,776 MU.

The power demand trajectory has been on expected lines this summer. The Central Electricity Authority had projected an all-India peak power demand of 256.53 GW in the financial year (FY) 2024-25. It had predicted that power demand would surpass 256 GW in September 2024.

The previous peak was recorded on September 1, 2023. August last year was the warmest month in India for over 120 years and one of the worst monsoon-deficient months in history, leading to a drop in hydroelectric power generation. Power demand had scaled new heights across several states.

Apart from climate issues, increased industrial activity has led to surging power demand in recent years. Peak energy demand grew 12.7% from 215.88 GW in 2022-23 to 243.27 GW in 2023-24. The peak demand met rose 13.9% from 210.72 GW in 2022-23 to 239.93 GW in 2023-24.

Anticipating higher demand this year, the government put a series of measures in place to ensure no load shedding. The Power Ministry directed stakeholders to prevent a situation in which one state has surplus power while another faces power shortages.

The government had said it was considering shifting the planned maintenance of 1.7 GW of thermal capacity in April and 6-9 GW in June to the monsoon season. A review of the 5.2 GW of non-operational thermal capacity was also on the cards, while the commissioning of projects in coal, hydro, nuclear, solar, and wind sectors was to be expedited.

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