Sweltering Heat and Electricity Crisis - Railways Deploy Open Wagons & India to Import Expensive Gas

According to sources, Railways has deployed over 80% of its open wagons to transport coal to various power plants in the country to counter the electricity crisis in the country.

India's LNG importers are also turning to top up with expensive shipments.

The Railways are loading an average of around 28470 wagons with coal daily to meet the coal demand of power plants. The situation is such that even damaged wagons are put in operation to move coal. The Railways are also running 3-5 trains together, a coal train usually gets upto 84 wagons, to expedite transportation.

Rakes are detained during coal loading and unloading that takes around 10 days in some cases. To expedite the movement of coal rakes, the Railways has also increased operation duration of rakes by 2500 Km, resulting in providing the rakes more running time - instead of 7500 Km, rakes are sent to garage after 10000 Km.

A tonne of extra load the coal trains are carrying, that have a loading capacity of about 7.1 MT ! This has not only affected loading of other commodities but passengers trains running are also affected.

Sweltering heat and electricity crisis is also forcing India turning to expensive foreign gas.

Unusual purchases of high cost LNG for India's cost-sensitive power generators illustrates how a domestic coal shortage is forcing the South Asian nation to look for alternative fuel no matter the prices, further elevating international LNG demand.

Natural gas make up just a small portion of India's power mix, but coal scarcity and hotter weather has triggered scheduled blackout, threatening to upend the economy. In 2020, 4% of nation's electricity came from natural gas, while coal contributed around 71% of electricity. more  

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SUVs are a growing sector. It has risen to 40% from 26% in just two to three years in the industry. Maruti Suzuki's Brezza and S-Cross couldnot raise market share in SUV sector, though its market share in non-SUV sector climbed to about 66%. Electric vehicles may still be a drop in the ocean for passenger vehicles in India, but for Tata Nexon, a big difference is made in fiscal 2022. Tata Nexon has become the largest selling SUV in the country by overtaking Hyndai Creta. To enhance reliability of power supply and persue the journey of decarbonisation, decentralization and disaster management, cutting edge technology will accelerate powering a sustainable future to create a positive societal impact for a better planet and its people. For example, a microgrid ( a small grid within a grid, connected to a large single customer or a group of small customers) with floating solar and BESS(battery energy storage system) will help in crisis management and uninterrupted power supply with green energy. Renewable source with battery supply becomes operational with microgrid when normal grid fails. This increases resilience of the grid by maintaining an uninterrupted and quality power supply, say for essential services. more  
Not good enough having 39% energy being from renewables, when coal remains the highest in consumption about 52% for providing energy. Fiscal incentives are given to fuels such as diesel, used even by the rich for personal transport, for example, most SUVs, except 1 or 2, are polluting. To be fair, the government in Delhi has promoted cleaner air by running the entire mass transit system of buses on CNG, while metro train is electric powered. Clearly individuals, especially the rich, who use private vehicles, must do better, such as replacing thier cars with electric vehicles. more  
Fuel shortages have triggered hours-long blackouts. Blackouts and curbs on supply to some industries have prompted street protests. Environmental approvals are therefore eased enabling coal mines to expand to boost coal output. Existing rules may allow raise production by further 10% without (i) carrying out new impact assessments and (ii) referring to rules on consulting local residents. Huge pressure on domestic coal supply is flagged. Coal supplies at power plants are shrinking amid a gruelling heat wave that has pushed electricity demand to a record in recent times with several power plants operating with critical reserves of the fuel. Some of the power plants with captive mines are in better condition. Weakening environmental regulations may prove counter-productive and bypassing public consultation risks creating friction between mine operators and local communities, that can result in delays from protests and legal challenges. Its not that improvements are not made, say in renewable hydrogen production. Hydrogen has emerged as an important carrier to store energy generated by renewable resources, as a substitute for fossil fuels, for example for transportation and other industrial applications, including in ammonia production. Successful use of hydrogen as a fuel depends on announced goal to cut the cost of clean hydrogen, for example in a decade or so. Beside electrolysis method, STCH (solar thermo-chemical hydrogen) production is also analysed. Electrolysis needs electricity, while STCH relies on a 2-stage process of heating metal oxides to high temperature and then re-oxidising with steam at lower temperatures. PV cells may not capture the entire solar spectrum, but STCH may use the entire solar spectrum. more  
When there was a chance and choice of partially shifting to renewable energy sources, through incentives, such as making money flow where there is direct sunlight, read investments in solar energy, India made more effort towards making that power demand being met through burning fossil fuels. Private individuals too must be convinced about renewables, so why expect only governmental action! Our collective energies seem more focussed on the developed world's historic emissions. What about our own rich man's share therein, whether dieselising his personal transport or consumption of energy. So what gives! more  
India is planning to reopen more than 100 coal mines previously considered financially unsustainable as heatwaves continue to batter power generation across the country, potentially staving off peak consumption later into the late 2020s. India pushes for maximum coal supply. The Indian government defends its continued buying of Russian crude due to (i) a part of a wider strategy to diversify away from Middle East and (ii) keep fuel prices at bay. Gas prices are high. High gas prices has allowed gas inventories in EU and the UK to steadily rise as exceptionally high gas prices have been discouraging consumption by power generators. China, however doubles down its LNG tanker fleet - reportedly awarded 2.5 billion worth of contracts to build 12 LNG tankers, seeking to grab a higher share of the LNG freight market in Asia. more  
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