High temperatures across India have spiked electricity demand to near-record levels in recent weeks, leading to worries of yet another energy crunch this summer.
According to the India Meteorological Department, peak demand for power had touched 211 gigawatts in January and could even set a new high of 229 gigawatts in April.
The unusually hot weather this early in the year — with temperatures up to 11C above normal in some regions — has forced the power ministry to order power stations that use imported coal to operate at full capacity for three months to avoid blackouts. The situation has become a cause of concern for officials in the northern state of Rajasthan, which is already rationing power supply to homes and farmers. Bhanwar Singh Bhati, the state’s power minister, believes electricity demand could rise by 20-30% compared to last summer. “There’s no other option than to cut power supply,” he said.
Rajasthan is the nation’s hottest province and a hub of solar energy, yet summer months can be challenging if there are delays receiving coal from mines in other regions. With rising temperatures, India could be in for another energy crunch this year.