Energy sector in India - Statistics and facts

As one of the critical components of infrastructure, energy is essential for economic growth. India has a diverse power sector ranging from conventional sources like coal, natural gas, oil, hydro and nuclear energy, to unconventional sources including wind, solar, and biowaste. The demand for electricity has increased significantly through the years and is expected to grow. With the promise to bring electricity to every home in the country, the government continues to accelerate capacity addition in the country.

India is third in the world for primary energy consumption after China and the United States, consuming 162 kilowatt hours of electricity per capita. Apart from coal and crude oil as main sources of energy, Indians use LPG or Liquefied Petroleum Gas domestically for cooking. Most of this is imported and subsidized to reach the poorest households.

In the nuclear segment, India currently has 22 power reactors, with plans of almost doubling by 2030. It is the fifth largest source of power in the country (the first being coal), as Indians working in the field continue making advances to fulfill the three-stage nuclear power programme to secure India’s long-term energy dependence.

Dry dung, dry manure or dung cakes made from animal feces is a common source of fuel across rural parts of the country. One dung cake or Chulha averages a little over 2,000 kJ of energy. These are hand-molded by village women and traditionally used in earthen ovens. Its wide usage is attributed to easily availability, low cost, safe disposal of animal dung and is locally sourced. Another method of using animal waste for fuel is via biogas or gobar gas plants. The Deenabandhu (meaning "friend of the helpless") method is the most popular in India, its design enhanced over the last few decades. Maharashtra had the highest number of biogas plants, followed by Andhra Pradesh.

With the climate agreements of Copenhagen and Paris, Indians are on the road to increased investments and clean energy installations. The country’s renewables auctioned capacity increased by 68 percent in 2017, and investments (mainly in solar energy) added up to 7.4 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter of 2018. With a target of 100GW of solar capacity by 2022, the country has seen a significant ramp up over the last decade, with central and state governments auctioning tenders to build large-scale solar projects. Rooftop solar capacities have not warmed the market as quickly because of the high purchase cost.

Although India ranked second after Chile on BloombergNEF’s Climatescope list in 2018, the country needs a radical change in transportation policy to reduce its dependency on oil. The constant tug-of-war with crude oil prices in addition to traffic gridlocks being the bane of the average Indian commuter begs for replacement of the conventional vehicles to electric ones. This requires debate on a national level without the interference of election politics to reach the best solutions for long-term sustainability.

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