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Govt to Operationalize Gas-Based Power Plants to Meet Summer Electricity Demand

New Delhi: In a proactive move to address the anticipated surge in electricity demand during the upcoming summer season, the Government of India has decided to operationalize gas-based power plants across the country. This decision aims to optimize power generation and ensure adequate supply during the high-demand period.

To facilitate this initiative, the government has issued directives under Section 11 of the Electricity Act, 2003, which empowers the appropriate government to mandate the operation and maintenance of generating stations in extraordinary circumstances. The order, similar to those issued for imported-coal-based power plants, will remain valid from May 1, 2024, to June 30, 2024.

A significant proportion of Gas-Based Generating Stations (GBSs) has remained underutilized due to commercial considerations. By invoking Section 11, the government seeks to maximize the availability of power from these stations to meet the escalating demand.

GRID-INDIA, the national grid operator, will notify gas-based generating stations in advance of the required power output. Stations with Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) must prioritize supplying power to PPA holders. Any surplus power will be offered in the power market. Gas-based generating stations without PPAs are mandated to offer their generation in the open market. To oversee the implementation, a high-level committee chaired by the Chairperson of the Central Electricity Authority has been constituted.

The decision to operationalize gas-based generating stations is part of a broader strategy to ensure adequate power supply during the summer season. Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Shri R. K. Singh, has held discussions emphasizing the importance of meeting electricity demand during the hot-weather period.

In addition to the directive on gas-based generating stations, the government has undertaken various measures to address the summer electricity demand. These include shifting planned maintenance of power plants to the monsoon season, expediting new capacity additions, reducing partial outages of thermal power plants, utilizing surplus power from captive generating stations, offering surplus power for sale in the energy exchange, among others.

With India’s electricity demand rising steadily, especially during hot-weather seasons, these proactive measures aim to ensure uninterrupted power supply and mitigate potential shortages. The government’s actions align with forecasts from the Indian Meteorological Department, which predicts above-normal temperatures across the country during the upcoming summer.

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