NEW DELHI, Dec 7 (Reuters) – India has asked state-run firms to increase imports of natural gas in anticipation of higher electricity demand next summer, three government sources said, avoiding a repeat of the power crisis in April. Aim to avoid that which was the worst this year. more than six years.

While the share of natural gas in India’s electricity generation was just 1.5% this year, down from 3.3% in 2019 due to limited local availability and high global prices, officials are viewing it as an important stop-gap power source for times of crisis. especially when the use of air conditioning increases in intense heat.

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An incredible heat wave this year caused unprecedented electricity use in April, when electricity demand exceeded forecasts by more than 7% and led to massive power outages. Temperatures usually start rising in most parts of India around mid-March and remain high till early June.

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The Indian government has asked the country’s largest gas distributor, state-run GAIL (India) Ltd. (gail.ns)To increase supplies to power plants during the summer months, two sources said.

India’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd. (NTPC.NS) It has also called for up to 2 gigawatts (GW) of gas-fired power plants – more than half of its capacity – set to produce at full capacity next year to meet summer demand, two sources said. Is.

GAIL and NTPC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“There have been several meetings on using gas-based capacity to meet peak demand,” said one of the sources, which was attended by officials from the government and state-run companies.

The government can also hold a meeting with private gas-based power producers.

coal and gas

Coal accounts for about three-quarters of India’s electricity generation, with renewables and hydropower together accounting for about a fifth.

India will continue to import coal to blend with domestic coal despite record growth in local production and supply, two sources said, due to a pick-up in economic activity and a rise in electricity demand driven by higher summer temperatures.

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But the government is also seeking greater availability of gas next summer despite the lower cost of imported coal, a more diverse set of fuel sources and to address logistical issues in some parts of the country, the sources said.

It is also easier to scale up or scale down gas-fired generation based on demand than coal or renewables.

The government has not yet estimated how much additional natural gas will need to be imported, but increased purchases could push up prices and hurt neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, which struggle with huge debts and imported gas. heavily dependent on gas.

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Global gas markets are expected to remain tight next year as Russian pipeline gas supplies dwindle.

Bangladesh and Pakistan have cut gas purchases amid a rise in international gas prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and have turned to more polluting fuels such as fuel oil and diesel to meet higher electricity demand this year. Has done, according to data from independent energy think-tank Amber.

Graphics by Sudarshan Vardhan; Editing by Edmund Claman

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