Rising Heat Across India Raises Alarm On Another Energy Crunch

NEW DELHI: High temperatures across parts of India have pushed electricity demand to near-record levels in recent weeks, triggering worries about yet another summer squeeze on power supply. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday, predicting that the mercury may rise further.

Peak demand for electricity touched 211 gigawatts in January, close to an all-time high last summer when heavy industry roared back from pandemic curbs and the population contended with sweltering conditions that saw a 122-year-old heat record breached.

Temperatures have been as much as 11C above normal in some regions in the past week and prompted the met department to advise farmers to check wheat and other crops for signs of heat stress.

Power stations that use imported coal have already been ordered to operate at full capacity for three months during the summer season to help avoid blackouts, and to ease the pressure on domestic coal supplies. Electricity demand could set a new high of 229 gigawatts in April, according to the power ministry.

Coal accounts for more than 70% of electricity generation in India, and stockpiles at power stations are currently well below a target of 45 million tons that the government asked to be met by the end of March.

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