The Electricity Situation in India: Part II
The below Figure 1 shows the total energy consumed in India. Power is instantaneous energy, whereas energy is power summed up over a period of time. When 1 kW or 1,000 watts of power is consumed for 1 hour, 1 kWh or 1 unit of energy is consumed. In India, the purchase cost of 1 unit varies from Rs. 2 to Rs. 7 for residential consumers, Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 for industrial consumers, and Rs. 8 to Rs. 15 for commercial consumers.
In Figure 2 below, the energy consumed is in TWh; 1 TWh is 1012 Wh or 109 units. As can be seen, the energy consumption in 2012 was 1,040 TWh or 1.04 trillion units, and the historical growth since 1985 has been 6.5% year-on-year (YoY) on average.
Assuming that the future growth rate will be the same as the historical growth rates, the total energy requirement is expected to rise to 1,906 TWh by 2022, while the peak demand is expected to rise to 303 GW. To fulfil this energy/peak demand, installed capacity of almost 420 GW with an average operating efficiency of 72% – which is around 50% today – will be required.
That’s a tough task to say the very least, because it would mean that almost 170 GW of capacity would have to be added in the next 8 years, which works out to 21.25 GW per year!
This is nearly impossible to do with conventional energy sources; getting all the permissions required is the hardest and the most time-consuming part, and it takes at least 5 years to build a coal/gas/nuclear powered power plant.
(Prashant Karhade is a guest author of ABC of Solar)