Fuel crisis in the power sector is likely to linger, as the government anticipates a shortfall of nearly 14 per cent in coal availability during the current financial year (2013-14).

According to an official report, the coal requirement for the current fiscal is estimated at 548 million tonnes (MT). “The total coal availability during the fiscal is 473 MT (from both domestic sources and imports). There is no shortage as far as imported fuel is concerned,” a Power Ministry official told PTI.

Of the 548 MT, 516 MT is reserved for the power plants designed on domestic coal and the remaining 32 MT for the ones designed on imported coal.

The report has also projected fuel availability to the tune of 441 MT from domestic sources.

Of the expected availability during the current fiscal, 377 MT is likely to come from Coal India, 36 MT from SCCL (Singareni Collieries Company Ltd) and 28 MT from captive coal blocks.

The imported coal-based projects are likely to consume 32 MT of coal during the year.

However, the government has said that the coal import required to meet shortfall in domestic stands at 50 MT. “This is due to higher calorific value of imported coal,” the official said adding that the requirement of domestic coal for stations has outstripped the supply therefore imported coal is being blended with indigenous coal, in the plants designed to operate on domestic fuel, to bridge the shortfall between demand and supply of domestic coal.

The fuel import target for imported coal-based plants in the last fiscal (2012-13) was 24 million tonnes, but the actual import stood at 31.5 million tonnes. The increase was mainly due to the commissioning of Tata Power’s 4,000 MW Mundra ultra mega power project in Gujarat.