Power companies may import 82 MT of coal in 2013-14: CEA

NEW DELHI: Power generation utilities are likely to ship in over 80 million tonnes of coal during the current financial year to feed the import fuel-based projects and bridge the shortfall in domestic production. 

"The target of importing coal for the power companies for the year 2013-14 is 82 million tonnes," a Central Electricity Authority (CEA) official told PTI. 

"Of the total targeted 82 million tonnes, 50 million tonnes is to meet the shortage in supply from 
Coal IndiaBSE 3.98 % and the remaining 32 million tonnes is for the projects running on imported fuel," the official said. 

CEA, the techno-economic clearance body under the Ministry of Power, is also engaged in setting generation targets and other milestones for the power utilities. 

In the year 2012-13, CEA had projected imports by the power generation utilities to the tune of 70 million tonnes. It included imported coal-based plants and meeting the shortfall. 

"The fuel import target for imported coal-based plants in the last fiscal (2012-13) was 24 million tonnes. But the actual import was 31.5 million tonnes," the official said. 

He said that the increase in coal imports was mainly due to the commissioning of Tata Power's Mundra plant in Gujarat. 

"When we finalised the target last year (2012-13), the commissioning of Mundra looked uncertain because of the increase in price of imported coal. Therefore, we did not factor that project at the time of setting the target," he added. 

The previous year's import target to mitigate the scarcity in domestic production was 46 million tonnes. 

The total coal required by NTPC's thermal units, during 2013-14, is about 164 million tonnes. The company would import close to 17 million tonnes during the period. 

India's largest coal miner Coal India is the primary supplier of the fuel to power generating stations in the country. 

The state-run miner has lined up an investment of Rs 5,000 crore for the current financial year (2013-14) mainly to increase production. 

The coal giant, which is sitting on a cash reserve of Rs 61,000 crore, proposes to spend on developing more than 100 underground and opencast mines in seven coal producing subsidiaries during the 12th Five Year Plan Period (2012-17). 

The company, which produced 452 million tonnes of coal in 2012-13, plans to raise its capacity by 30-35 million tonnes per annum. 

Coal India supplies maximum of its produce to the power sector and state-owned 
NTPCBSE 1.37 % is its largest procurer.