Current Power Status of India
Energy demand in India is fuelled by rapidly growing economy and the rising population of urban India which consumes much more electricity than the rural folks. Rightly or wrongly current policies are encouraging urbanization, therefore rapid growth in the power sector is a must.
The power sector in India had an installed capacity of 258.7 GW at the end of Jan 2015. In 2013, India became the world’s third largest producer of electricity with 4.8% global share in electricity generation surpassing Japan and Russia. In March 2013, the per capita electricity consumption was 917 kWh as per official figures; so it is speculated to be about 950 kWh in Feb 2015, which is only about a quarter of the world average. Transmission and Distribution losses in India are also quite high – about 26% in distribution and more than 7% in transmission.
According to the Load Generation Balance Report 2014 – 15 from the Ministry of Power the country is expected to experience a peak power shortage of 2.0%(demand 147.82 GW, supply 144.79 GW) and energy shortage of 5.1% (demand 1048.67 G units, supply 995.18 G units. The worst sufferers are the Southern (energy shortage 12.7% and peak deficit 22.2%) and North-Eastern Regions (energy deficit 17.4% and peak shortage 12.9%).
Thanks to fast-paced industrialization of the economy in recent years, India can now easily boast to be the third largest global polluter after the US and China! (The more you “develop”, the more you pollute!!)
India’s plans are not limited to building just renewable plants, it also want to have 63 GW of nuclear power capacity by 2032 – an almost 14-fold increase on current levels. It currently has 22 nuclear reactors and plans to build 40 more in next two decades. India had 115 GW of coal-fired capacity on May 31, 2012 and an additional 87 GW is under construction. Thus, coal will continue to play a crucial role towards the proposed energy sufficiency but the focus will shift to the renewables.
Thrust on Renewable Energy
In India, “Renewable energy (RE) sources” mean small hydro (below 25 MW), wind, solar including its integration with combined cycle, biomass, bio fuel co-generation, urban or municipal waste and other such sources as recognized (or approved) by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Driven by climatic concerns and energy security, the Indian government has launched an ambitious plan to harness the renewable energy resources of the country. The National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) sets a target for the share of renewable energy based power generation from the current 4% to 15% by 2020. Then, in 2014 the new Indian government of Modi launched a much more ambitious plan and launched a $160 plan which includes creating 100 GW solar and 55 GW wind capacities by 2022 apart from saving 20 GW power through energy efficient means.
It is committed to provide “Power for All” by 2019 at a cost of $250 billion. While official claim that electricity has reached around 96% of all villages in India, it does not mean that all homes there get electricity. Thus, according to the 2011 census only 55% of rural homes use electricity as the primary source of lighting and around 300 million people have no access to grid power. By comparison, electricity has reached 99.7% homes in China – almost universal coverage.
Currently, India has just 33 GW of clean energy capacity – with 22 GW from wind, about 3 GW from solar energy and the remaining from small hydro and biomass projects. In comparison, China’s installed PV capacity increased from 0.8GW in 2010 to 18.6GW in 2013; now it is aiming for 70 GW by 2018.