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JSW Energy Plans to Double Coal Imports to 6 Million Tons

JSW Energy Ltd., an affiliate of India’s third-largest steelmaker, plans to double coal imports to 6 million metric tons in the financial year starting April as it expands power generation capacity.

The Mumbai-based utility plans to enter into long-term coal contracts with suppliers and may also buy stakes in mines overseas, Chief Executive Officer Lalit Gupta said in an interview yesterday.

The company, which owns a coal mine in South Africa, plans to quadruple output capacity at its Ratnagiri plant in western India to 1,200 megawatts by March, Gupta said by telephone.

Indian generators increased coal imports by 16 percent to 44 million tons in the year ended March 2010 from a year earlier, according to provisional figures from the nation’s coal ministry. Demand for the fuel is expected to more than triple to 2 billion tons a year by 2030 in Asia’s second-fastest growing major economy, where coal is used to fire more than half the current installed capacity.

JSW Energy operates a 260 megawatt plant and a 600 megawatt plant at Vijayanagar in the southern state of Karnataka, a 270 megawatt unit at Barmer in Rajasthan and a 300 megawatt project at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra state, according to Gupta. The utility is targeting generation capacity of 11,390 megawatts by 2015, according to its website.

The company currently uses 2 million tons of coal for the Vijayanagar plants and 1 million tons for Ratnagari, with most of the fuel imported from South Africa and Indonesia, Gupta said.

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