Peak Power Demand Still Down in May, Struggling at 134.7 GW

The peak power demand in India has remained low at 134.7 GW, being down by over 26 percent so far in May despite the easing of the nationwide lockdown

Peak Power Demand May

The peak power demand in India has remained low at 134.7 GW, being down by over 26 percent so far in May. The low has been prevalent even after the easing of the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

In April too the peak power demand was down by about one-fourth as compared to the corresponding month last year.

According to power ministry data, the peak power demand in May last year stood at 182.53 GW. The peak power demand met was 131.40 GW on May 1 and 134.70 GW on May 2, 2020.

The peak power demand met is the highest energy supply during the day across the country. An industry expert said the relatively cool weather played spoilsport in April as well as May so far, which kept power demand low despite the partial easing of the lockdown from April 20.

Last month, the peak power demand crossed the 130 GW mark on April 24 (130.02GW), April 29 (131.13GW) and April 30 (132.77GW), the data showed. Therefore, the peak power demand met in April stood at 132.77 GW, almost one-fourth less than 176.81 GW in April 2019.

The power demand during April has ranged between 116.89 GW (April 8) to 132.77 GW (April 30). Industry bodies and analysts have been expressing concern about the low power demand amid the lockdown. The power sector is already reeling under financial stress.

The distribution companies (Discoms) owe more than Rs 92,000 crore to the generating companies as of February 2020. Industry body CII, in a report last month, said that the Discoms are going to suffer a revenue loss of Rs 30,000 crore due to low demand and will face a liquidity crunch of Rs 50,000 crore.

Industry experts said with the mercury expected to soar in the coming days and resumption of some economic activities from May 4, 2020, power demand may see an uptick. However, they are of the view that touching last year’s levels is still a long time away.

In a new report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) had recently revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic represents the biggest shock to the global energy system in more than seven decades, with the drop in demand this year set to dwarf the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and result in a record annual decline in carbon emissions of almost 8 percent.

The report has projected that the global energy demand will fall 6 percent in 2020 – seven times the decline after the 2008 global financial crisis. In absolute terms, the decline is unprecedented – the equivalent of losing the entire energy demand of India, the world’s third-largest energy consumer.

It had, however, also added that this trend will result in the combined share of gas and coal in the global power mix to drop by 3 percentage points in 2020 to a level not seen since 2001, due to the low overall power demand and increasing output from renewables. Renewables, which the report adds, will be the only energy source that will grow in 2020, with their share of global electricity generation projected to jump thanks to their priority access to grids and low operating costs.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.

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