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Review on Energy Crisis in India

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Energy scenario in India

Energy has become one of the important assets for a developing country like India. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), India was the third largest energy consumer in the world as per the data of 2013, after China and the United States of America. Although India has a lot of fossil fuel resourses, the country largly depends on the energy imports. In 2015, India was fourth largest crude oil and petroleum consumer in world. This section deals with current amount of energy India is producing and the sources vailable for the same. (Source- US EIA)


As on 31.03.16, the estimated reserves of coal were 308.80 billion tonnes, an addition of 2.20 billion tonnes over the last year. There has been an increase of 0.7% in the estimated coal reserves during the year 2015-16 with Chattisgarh accounting for the maximum increase of 2.05%. The estimated total reserves of lignite as on 31.03.16 was 44.59 billion Tonnes against 44.12 billion tonnes on 31.03.15. India was the third top coal producer in 2015, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2017. Nearly 80% of total electricity generated (utility and captive) in India is from coal. The average quality of the Indian coal is not very high and this necessitates the import of high quality coal to meet the requirement of steel plants. There has been an increasing trend in the import of coal. Import of coal has steadily increased from 43.08 MTs during 2006-07 to 199.88 MTs during 2015-16.

Crude oil and petroleum

Oil accounts for about 36 % of India’s total energy consumption. The estimated reserves of crude oil in India as on 31.03.2016 stood at 621.10 million tonnes. The estimated reserves of Natural Gas in India as on 31.03.2016 stood at 1227.23 Billion Cubic Meters. India is highly dependent on import of crude oil. Net imports of crude oil have increased from 111.50 MTs during 2006-07 to 202.85 MTs during 2015-16. The import of petroleum products has increased from 17.76 MT in 2006-07 to 28.30 MT during 2015-16. The country’s annual crude oil production is peaked at about 32 million tonne as against the current peak demand of about 110 million tonne. In the current scenario, India’s oil consumption by end of 2007 is expected to reach 136 million tonne(MT), of which domestic production will be only 34 MT. India will have to pay an oil bill of roughly $50 billion, assuming a weighted average price of $50 per barrel of crude. In 2003- 04, against total export of $64 billion, oil imports accounted for $21 billion. India imports 70% of its crude needs mainly from gulf nations.

Renewable energy sources

There is high potential for generation of renewable energy from various sourceswind, solar, biomass, small hydro and cogeneration bagasse. The total potential for renewable power generation in the country as on 31.03.16 is estimated at 1198856 MW (Table 1.3). This includes wind power potential of 102788 MW (8.57%) at 80m hub height, wind power potential of 302235 MW (25.21%) at 100 m hub height, SHP (small-hydro power) potential of 19749 MW (1.65%), Biomass power of 17,538 MW (1.46%), 5000 MW (0.42%) from bagassebased cogeneration in sugar mills, 2556 MW (0.21%) from waste to energy and solar power potential of 748990 MW (62.48%).

Electricity generated

The all India gross electricity generation from utilities was 6,70,654 Giga Watt-Hours (GWh) during 2006-07. It rose to 11,67,584 GWh during 2015-16. The production of electricity from utilities has increased from 11,16,850 GWh during 2014-15 to 11,67,584 GWh during 2015-16, registering an annual growth rate of about 4.54%. Total Electricity generation in the country, from utilities and non-utilities taken together during 2015-16 was 13,35,956 GWh. Out of the total electricity generated through utilities, 9,43,013 GWh was generated from thermal and 1,21,377 GWh was from hydro and 37,414 GWh was generated from nuclear sources. Total output from non-utilities was 1,68,372 GWh. (Source-Indian energy statistics 2016, Bureau of Energy Efficiency India, BP Statistical Review of World Energy, US Energy Information Administration)

Energy Crisis in India

Energy consumption in India is characterised by low per capita level and a large disparity between urban and rural areas. Primary energy consumption in India more than doubled between 1990 and 2013, reaching an estimated 775 million tons of oil equivalent. The country has the second-largest population in the world, at nearly 1.3 billion people in 2014, growing about 1.4% each year since 2004, according to World Bank data. At the same time, India’s per capita energy consumption is one-third of the global average, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), indicating room for higher energy demand in the long term as the country continues its economic development.

India suffers from severe shortages of electricity, particularly during peak hours of demand, and often experiences blackouts lasting from several hours to days in certain areas. India suffered an unprecedented electricity blackout for two days in July 2012 that affected an estimated 680 million people across the country’s northern states. This outage highlighted the increasing need for India’s power system to secure more fuel supplies and infrastructure investment in each stage of power transmission. Utilization rates in India’s power plants using fossil fuels have fallen steadily since 2007 (from a peak of about 79%) to less than 65% in 2014 because of disruptions in domestic fuel supplies, transmission and distribution constraints, and financial distress of distribution companies that refrain from purchasing electricity generation. Insufficient coal and natural gas supply to power plants has led some plant owners to curtail operations and even to mothball some plants. Transmission and distribution losses and technical problems in moving electricity between various states also impair system reliability. Additionally, India’s relatively low electricity tariffs have made it challenging for distribution companies to purchase generation at higher costs.

In addition, significant parts of the country, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to electricity. The IEA estimates that overall household electrification in India was 81%, representing 237 million people without electricity, in 2013. Although 96% of urban households had electricity, only 74% of rural households had access, and often the rural consumers experienced much more frequently interrupted electricity supply.

India had more than 300 gigawatts of installed electricity generation capacity connected to the national network in early 2016, mostly from coal-powered plants. Because of insufficient fuel supply and power generation and transmission capacity, the country suffers from a severe electricity shortage.

Need of renewable energy in India

Despite having large coal reserves and overall growth in coal and natural gas production over the past two decades, India is increasingly dependent on imported fossil fuels. India’s current administration under Narendra Modi has a goal of reducing India’s import dependency on oil and natural gas to two-thirds by 2022 and to half by 2030. The energy we produce and import is still not enough to meet the current needs of the country, keeping in mind the low per capita consumption of electricity.To make India self sufficient in terms of energy production and meet the need of growing population, India will have explore and develope other sources of producing energy. With depleting fossil fuel reserves and concerns about its environmental impact, renewable energy is the only long-term solution. Renewable energy production has a high potential of the development in India given its rich resources.

This is the share of current installed renewable power capacity of India. The ministry of new and renewable energy has the target of producing 175 GW renewable energy by 2022. Renewable energy has the potential to re-energize India’s economy by creating millions of new jobs, allowing the country to achieve energy independence, reduce its trade deficits and propel it forward as a “Green Nation”. In short, renewable energy offers too many benefits for India to ignore, or delay its development.

Renewable energy has particular relevance in remote and rural areas, where 74 percent off the people do not have the access to reliable sources of energy. Solar energy is the most cost-effective option for India to reduce energy poverty without having to extend national grid services to provide power for individual homes and buildings.

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Review on energy crisis in India. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from
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