Power output increases for first time in five months in August

Electricity generation rises 2.6% from a year earlier in first half; fell 1.8% in July

India’s electricity generation in the first 15 days of August rose for the first time since early March, provisional government data show, as the country opened up industries and lifted curbs to control the spread of COVID-19.

Power generation rose 2.6% in the first 15 days of August compared with a year earlier, a Reuters analysis of daily load despatch data from federal grid operator POSOCO showed. This compares with a 1.8% fall in July.

In the second half of last month, electricity generation declined 3.1%. Power use has picked up from previous months when India was under a strict lockdown, mainly because of higher demand in the northern States and rising consumption in the highly industrialised States of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Industry and offices account for more than half of India’s annual power use.

‘Green shoots’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been citing electricity consumption to show there are ‘green shoots’ in the economy. Seasonal factors including hot weather could have fuelled higher power demand.

Rajasthan, the largest State by area, saw a 15.7% growth in electricity use. Other States including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also saw an uptick in demand.

Renewable energy generation, which fell by almost a fifth in July, rose 2.3% in the first half of August.

Solar-powered electricity production grew 19.3%, while wind-powered generation fell over 10%. Power output from coal, India’s primary source of electricity, rose 4.2% in the first 15 days.

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