But it doesn’t end with China–see India

From an energy standpoint, India today can quite accurately be described as being where China was in 1980. In that year, China’s per capita energy consumption was 17.6 mbtus. In 2006, India’s was 15.9, having tripled from the 5.9 mbtus per capita it consumed in 1980. It desperately needs the same level of infrastructure build-out that China has been engaged in since Deng Xiao Peng declared a new era for China in 1978.Although India faces obstacles to growth, such as red tape, corruption, illiteracy and more, China did too. Although India’s per capita GDP doubled between 1998 and 2010, growing by 6.4% annually, the end total–$965 per capita—was a third that of China in the same year.

Projections through 2030 show India’s per capita GDP reaching $3,309, which is very close to Thailand’s per capita GDP today. And the EIA projects India’s energy consumption to reach 37 quads by that time, up from 20.5 quads in 2010, a CAGR of 2.39%.

However, a report titled Integrated Energy Policy, Report of Expert Planning Commission, predicts an annual increase in demand (not production—they are not certain India can provide for its energy needs) of between 5.2% and 6.1%. And this is an important point. China has the money to import energy. Some of the countries examined below are net exporters of energy and can divert energy supplies to domestic use as demand grows. This may not be as viable an option for India over the next two decades, creating a latent and unmet demand for energy that could surge if the economics of energy changes and leave hundreds of millions in an energy-starved situation.

Once again, GDP projections seem oddly disconnected from projections of energy consumption. In an extremely poor country with very large needs for infrastructure, housing, roads, and tens of millions of people eagerly waiting to buy cars to drive on those roads, while per capita GDP is projected to triple, per capita energy consumption is not even expected to double. The rate of growth is actually expected to slow down. India’s per capita energy consumption had a CAGR of 4% between 1980 and 2006. Any slow down in the growth of energy consumption will be happening as India’s population grows, overtaking China as the most populous country—in 2030.

To put it in perspective, the EIA projects that India, with a 2030 population of 1.52 billion and a per capita average GDP of $3,309, would use about the same amount of energy as did North Korea in 2007.

One response to “But it doesn’t end with China–see India

  1. For countries such as India you might want to use the Energy Shortage Web site which gives some idea of the conditions today. For example it draws attention to a current piece in the Deccan Herald which notes:

    The ministry has set the target of building a generation capacity of 75,785 MW in the 12th plan period, of which about 85 per cent i.e., 62,695 MW production comes from coal-based source. As coal shortage is imminent, meeting the target will be difficult, sources in the ministry told Deccan Herald.

    Besides, costly import makes power more expensive ultimately leading to distribution entities which sell power to jack up the prices, sources added.

    In its 11th five-year plan ending March 2012, India will add only 52,000 MW against its target of adding 78,000 MW due to shortage of fuel.

    The continuing shortages of coal make it difficult to meet existing targets, and yet they cannot afford to switch to anything else.

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