India's peak power demand touched 229.6 GW on May 18, 2024, marking the second biggest high of the season after May 6, 2024, when the peak power demand hit 233 GW, the government data shows. The peak demand during the same month last year was recorded at 221 GW, with lower than expected temperature.

The season's peak demand last year had touched 243 GW in September 2023. This was up from the expected peak demand of 229 GW.

This year, the peak demand touched 221.6 GW in March 2024, 222.1 GW in February, and 222.3 GW in January 2024, according to the CEA (Central Electricity Authority) data. Overall this year, the government has estimated that peak power demand could touch 260 GW, marking a 7% rise on a year-on-year basis.

The National Power Portal data shows that 54.8% of the electricity in the country is produced via thermal power plants, followed by solar power plants at 18.66%, hydro at 10.60%, and wind power at 10.42%. The total installed capacity stands at 4,42,856.64 MW, while 29,805.09 MW is being monitored. Around 52,360.97 MW is under maintenance and 245,734.12 is online.

During 2023-24, energy shortage at all India levels had reduced to 0.3% (2,980 MU) with respect to 0.6% (5,705 MU) during the same period the previous year. All India peak shortage reduced to 1.4% (3,340 MW), with respect to 4% (8,657 MW) during the same period the previous year.

The meteorological department has said that "heat wave" to "severe heat wave" conditions could most likely continue over the plains of Northwest India and "heat wave conditions" over north Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat during the next 5 days.

The power ministry says to meet the summer electricity demand during the months of April, May, and June 2024, it has put in place additional measures like Section 11 directions for imported-coal-based power plants, planned maintenance of power plants shifted to Monsoon season, the revival of thermal plants under long outrage, advisory to generation companies to keep plants under healthy conditions, the optimisation of hydropower generation and directions to generating stations to offer surplus power for sale in energy exchange.

The power demand is projected to peak at 235 GW during day-time and 225 GW during evening hours for May, said the ministry, adding that it would peak at 240 GW during day-time and 235 GW during evening hours for June 2024.

Currently, coal is the primary source of electricity in India. Heavy rainfall between July and September increases inflows, allowing for higher levels of hydro generation during this period. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the most significant transformation of the electricity mix in India by 2050 could be the gradual phase-down of coal in favour of solar PV, with an estimated additional 1,400 GW of solar PV installed between 2030 and 2050.

"Today, coal is the dominant source of electricity in India, and it continues to be beyond 2030. By 2050, solar PV dominates the electricity mix in India, accounting for about 50% of total generation, with more than 1,700 GW of installed capacity. As a result, the net load is often negative during the daytime."

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