The electric future and its implications for India

Utilisation levels of many thermal power plants would fall to 35-40% if the country sets up 130 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2022, a latest report by KPMG India has pointed out. Instead of their current role of “being the bulwark of supply”, coal-based power plants’ “new role will be akin to storage, having energy content available on tap for balancing grid variability when the need arises”, the report, titled ‘The electric future and its implications for India’, said. Power generators find it difficult to service loans when plant load factors (PLFs) — the industry term for utilisation level — goes below 60%. PLF of coal power plants — many of which are already distressed due to lack of adequate demand and coal supply issues — touched an all-time low of 51.1% in September amid tepid power demand.