India stares at highest power deficit in 14 years in June as hydropower generation dips

India is projecting its biggest power shortfall in 14 years in June after a slump in hydropower generation, the government has said. Stepping up measures against the power crisis, the government is racing to avoid outages by deferring planned plant maintenance and re-opening idled units.

The deficit also follows delays, a government source has said, in the commissioning of 3.6 gw of new coal-fired plants which had been targeted to be operational before March.

A peak shortage of 14 gw is forecast in June during night-time hours, when solar capacity is offline, the Central Electricity Authority, the country’s planning body for the power sector, has told the Reuters in a statement.

“The planning process relies on worst-case scenarios,” it adds.

The gap is the widest since 2009-10, according to publicly-available government data. India’s hydroelectricity output fell at the steepest pace in four decades in the financial year ended March 31, 2024, while renewable energy generation was flat.

Power Minister R K Singh held an emergency meeting last week to take stock of the situation and decided to defer shutting down power plants for planned maintenance during June and revive 5 gw of idled coal plant capacity, two separate government sources present in the meeting have said.

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