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.