As summer approaches, the Indian government is boosting coal supply to power its grid, citing projections of extreme heatwaves and record electricity demand.

Extreme heatwaves: Govt banks on coal to power grid, peak demand may cross 265 GW

According to a Business Standard report, the government is boosting coal supply at all ends to power its grid in the approaching summer amid “gloomy projections of extreme heatwaves and record electricity demand”, with peak demand expected to cross 256GW.

The newspaper quoted senior officials saying the coal requirement submitted by the power ministry is 875 million tonnes (MT) for the current financial year, and the coal ministry has agreed to it.

Coal gasification: Ministry releases Draft RFPs for consultation

The  Ministry of Coal released three draft requests for proposals (RFPs) to gather input from private investors and PSUs interested in establishing coal gasification plants in India. This action follows the Cabinet’s approval of a financial aid package that will provide incentives of ₹8,500 crore for projects involving the gasification of coal, divided into three categories. 

For each of the three categories, distinct draft RFPs have been released. Category I provides government PSUs with up to three projects at a cost of ₹4,050 crore, with a lump sum payment of ₹1,350 crore or 15% of the capital expenditure, whichever is less. A lump-sum grant of ₹1,000 crore, or 15% of the capital expenditure, is awarded to each project under Category II, which is designated for both government PSUs and the private sector. Under the third category, a lump-sum grant of ₹100 crore, or 15% of the capital investment, is available to organisations with a minimum capex of ₹100 crore and a minimum production of 1500 Nm3/hr Syngas. It also provides ₹600 crore for demonstration projects and small-scale gasification plants. The ministry intends to finalise the RFPs in March 2024.

CIL hits record coal production, surpasses last year’s  figures

According to a press release by the Ministry of Coal,  Coal India Limited (CIL) hit record production of 703.91 million tonnes (MT) of coal up to March 7, 2024, during the current fiscal, surpassing last financial year’s production of 703.20 MT by a margin of 24 days. As of March 7, 2024, CIL maintains a coal stock of 72.70 MT.

The statement also said the ministry has implemented several key initiatives to enhance domestic coal production including mechanisation and modernisation of CIL mines, both Underground (UG) & Opencast (OC), undertaking new projects, expanding existing projects, etc.“Policy reforms aimed at promoting sustainable mining practices, ensuring environmental compliance, and attracting investments in the coal sector have contributed to the overall growth and success of Coal India Limited,” the statement said. 

​​US leads world oil production for the 6th year in a row: EIA

The US produced crude oil at a record breaking average production of 12.9 million barrels per day (pbd), leading global oil production for a sixth straight year, Reuters reported. US crude oil production hit a new monthly record high of more than 13.3m bpd in December. The Energy Information Administration says it is “unlikely that the record will be broken by another country in the near term”, adding “The United States produced more crude oil than any nation at any time, according to our International Energy Statistics, for the past six years in a row.” 

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s government in January ordered Aramco to halt its oil expansion plan and to target a maximum sustained production capacity of 12 million barrels per day (bpd), one million bpd below a target announced in 2020.