Solar, Wind Support Thermal in Meeting India’s Unprecedented Power Demand

Solar and wind energy generation has complemented thermal power in meeting India’s unprecedented power demand this summer.

Renewables accounted for 15% of total power generated on May 30, 2024, when the daytime peak power demand scaled a new high of 250 GW.

The Ministry of Power (MoP) said support from renewable energy sources, especially solar during solar hours and wind during non-solar hours, was “very significant” in meeting the demand.

Thermal generation met 176 GW of the peak demand.

Coal continued to be the mainstay in meeting the peak demand of 250 GW, contributing 4,010 million units (MU), or 68% of total power generated.

The share of renewables was 891 MU, and hydroelectricity was 541 MU. South India contributed 27.28% of the total renewable energy generation, and North India 15.12%.

Solar accounted for 421.19 MU, with Rajasthan contributing 160.76 MU, Gujarat 54.58 MU, and Karnataka 48.64 MU.

The total wind generation was 437.38 MU, with Gujarat generating 145.91 MU, Tamil Nadu 99 MU, and Rajasthan 51.25 MU.

The peak demand in North India touched 86.78 GW, and in West India, 74.85 GW.

On May 29, the daytime peak demand was recorded at 246 GW. Renewables generated 1,048 MU out of the 5,814 MU generated from all sources. According to the Ministry of Power, the all-India non-solar demand touched an all-time high of 234.3 GW on the day, reflecting the combined impact of weather-related loads and growing industrial and residential power consumption in these areas.

The ministry described meeting the peak demand of 250 GW as a significant achievement. The strategic implementation of Section 11 of the Electricity Act facilitated the maximization of generation from imported coal- and gas-based plants.

Section 11 says the government may specify that a generating company can, in extraordinary circumstances, operate and maintain any generating station under its directions.

Both the Union government and states like Karnataka have invoked this emergency provision at various times.

The ministry said the achievement is a testament to the coordinated efforts of various stakeholders in the power sector, including government agencies, power generation companies, and grid operators. Their commitment to enhancing generation capacity, optimizing resource allocation, and implementing policies has been instrumental in meeting the country’s energy needs.

“This surge further underscores the significant capacity and operational efficiency of India’s thermal power plants, which continue to be a backbone of the nation’s energy mix,” the ministry said.

Anticipating an energy demand higher than in previous years, the government had initiated several measures to ensure zero load shedding in the summer.


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