Let’s Look At India’s Energy Consumption Again

India’s Central Statistics Office has published their Energy Statistics 2012 document, a provisional assessment of the state of play for the country. It’s interesting, to say the least.

They lead off with an energy map of nuclear power generation–and India has 52 plants with 6,780 MW capacity either up and running or under construction. Nuclear power capacity grew 4.8% in 2011.

When the report covers renewable energy–wind and solar–it concentrates on potential, referring to an estimated wind power potential of 49132 MW (55%), SHP (small-hydro power) potential of 15,385 MW (17%), Biomass power potential of 17,538 MW(20%) and 5000 MW (6%) from bagasse-based cogeneration in sugar mills. That’s because actual renewable production is fairly low. India is 10th in the world for solar, but it amounts to about 600 MW installed last year. When it comes to current capacity, “The total installed capacity of grid interactive renewable power, which was 16817 MW as on 31.03.2010  had gone up to 19971 MW as on 31.03.2011 indicating growth of 18.75% during the period. Out of the total installed generation capacity of renewable power as on 31-03-2011, wind power accounted for about 71%, followed by small hydro power (15.2%) and Biomass power (13.3%).

For electricity generation, the report says, “The total installed capacity for electricity generation in the country has increased from 16,271 MW as on 31.03.1971 to 206,526 MW as on 31.03.2011, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4% . There has been an increase in generating capacity of 18654 MW over the last one year, which is 10% more than the capacity of last year.” (My bold.)

The sad tale of the tape is next–India dreams of nuclear and renewables, but their feet are firmly planted in coal. “At the end of March 2011, thermal power plants accounted for an overwhelming 64% of the total installed capacity in the country, with an installed capacity of 131.2 thousand MW. Hydro power plants come next with an installed capacity of 37.6 thousand MW, accounting for 18.2% of the total installed Capacity. Besides, non-utilities accounted for 15.9% (32.9 Thousand MW) of the total installed generation capacity. The share of Nuclear energy was only 2.31% (4.78 MW).”

What the Report Didn’t Cover

India is the 5th largest energy consumer in the world and its people wish mightily that it ranked higher. Their energy consumption in 2009 was 21.7 quads, not nearly enough for their huge (and growing) population. Their per capita energy consumption is on a par with Swaziland.

India imports about 75% of its oil. In fact, one-third of all India’s imports consist of oil. That is expected to rise to 80%, as energy consumption rises. India’s need to import gas is not as bad, but it is also rising–from 25% of their needs to half by 2015, according to the Financial Times.

Oh–by the way. That link to India importing 75% of its oil? The title of the article is “India’s Energy Consumption Set to Double by 2031.” So I’m not the only one…

And coal? Readers will remember that I am concerned about coal powering the rise of the developing world. Well, India has a lot of coal to burn–“Coal production in the country during the year 2010-11 was 533 million tonnes (MTs) as compared to 532 MTs during 2009-10, registering a growth of 0.12%. Considering the trend of production from 1970-71 to 2010-11, it is observed that coal production in India was about 73 MTs during 1970-71, which increased to 533 MTs during 2010-11, with a CAGR of 5%.”

And India has more where that came from–“India has a good reserve of coal and lignite. As on 31.03.11 the estimated reserves of coal was around 286 billion tones, an addition of 9 billion over the last year,” according to India’s Energy Statistics 2012. Their reserves actually grew 3%, primarily because India’s bureaucracy and corruption make it very hard to get coal out of the ground. But that’s okay, I guess. Because India’s imports of coal grew by 31% this year… And just to cheer you all up, “India’s coal imports are likely to touch a whopping 185 million tonnes (MT) by 2017, almost 20% of the international dry-fuel trade amid widening demand-supply deficit, according to Planning Commission.”

15 responses to “Let’s Look At India’s Energy Consumption Again

  1. “Their reserves actually grew 3%, primarily because India’s bureaucracy and corruption make it very hard to get coal out of the ground.”

    Electricity prices as well as domestic coal prices in India are fixed by the state. The coal prices don’t support a return on investment anywhere close to what a private firm would require.

    “The share of Nuclear energy was only 2.31% (4.78 MW).”

    Up until 2009 the Nuclear Suppliers group blacklisted sales of Uranium to India. IIRC Australia still is refusing to sell India Uranium.(There have been discussions to lift the ban). So India’s slow takeup of nuclear is based on the fact that they couldn’t even source the Uranium they needed to run the reactors they had until 2009. In 2005 Bush Jr proposed the 123 agreement but it wasn’t approved by the IAEA until 2009. They still have details of their domestic nuclear liability laws to work out. They’ve also had a rather difficult lesson in the need to do public outreach and education before you start building a nuclear plant in someones community in the case of Koodankulam.

  2. Yes, Harry, I read about the demonstrations. And I should have written they have 52 cores, rather than plants–a lot of them are housed next to each other.

  3. ”Coal production in the country during the year 2010-11 was 533 million tonnes (MTs) as compared to 532 MTs during 2009-10, registering a growth of 0.12%.

    Just as a nitpick, non-coking coal production actually declined in that period made up for in part by lignite. Lignite has less carbon per tonne.

    Coking coal production and consumption are indicators of rate of urbanization(urban buildings being constructed out of steel).

  4. From a statistical perspective, certain things ate clear. In 2008, India generated slightly more electricity than Canada…. what was their population again? And Chinese electricity consumption per capita in 2008 was 5 times more than in India.

    Just to reach the same per capita consumption that China had in 2008, India would have to build around 800 gigawatts of capacity in addition to the existing 200 gigawatts. Or more than 2000 gigawatts if they use solar and wind.

    • The vast bulk of Chinese energy consumption is in the industrial sector.
      India is also largely tropical with minimal heating/cooling degree days, biomass makes up most of their heating. The average daily low for January in Bombay is something like 67F. The average daily low for Beijing is 15F.

      • India has 300-400 million people without electricity. They also have big industrialization plans which have not been realized thanks to red tape and other inefficiencies.. When 1.5 billion people all have what we consider the bare necessities: electricity, lights,a tv and a fridge…..

        Your statement of minimal cooling days does not make sense. India is tropical, i.e. hot, and AC is run by electricity:

        “Projections of air-conditioning use are daunting. In 2007, only 11 percent of households in Brazil and 2 percent in India had air-conditioning, compared with 87 percent in the United States, which has a more temperate climate, said Michael Sivak, a research professor in energy at the University of Michigan. “There is huge latent demand,” Mr. Sivak said. “Current energy demand does not yet reflect what will happen when these countries have more money and more people can afford air-conditioning.” He has estimated that, based on its climate and the size of the population, the cooling needs of Mumbai alone could be about a quarter of those of thttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/sunday-review/air-conditioning-is-an-environmental-quandary.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0he entire United States, which he calls “one scary statistic.”

  5. Jarmo,

    In the US we calculate heating/cooling degree days based on a 65F center line. That is an arbitrary number based on the fact that temperatures in the US are neither predominately warm or cool. Most of the US has hot summers and cold winters.

    In the UK they calculate heating/cooling degree days based on a 15.5C(60F) centerline. The UK really doesn’t have ‘hot summers’. So people tend to acclimate to a bit colder then the average American.

    I would posit that in Tropical countries people acclimate to some extent to warm. If I look at the average daily low in January for Bombay they have no heating requirement using the US base of 65F. Yet the amount of biomass burned for heating is not insignificant. Using a 65F US baseline is probably inappropriate, 75F or 80F is probably a normal ‘comfort zone’.

  6. In Kuwait, 2/3 of all energy is used for air conditioning….

    • In Qatar, it can be 60%. Even in Finland, more and more houses have AC systems, although the summer months average temp is around 20 degrees C. It’s for those rare days when temps climb to 30 C.

      It’s about comfort. If Indians get money, they will have AC. Witness the 13 % CAGR growth of Indian AC business.

    • Hey Tom, here’s another issue (OT) about the danger represented by HCFC’s and older CFC’s as GHGs. AC boom in developed countries is multiplying their emissions.


    • Yes Tom.

      I had air conditioning when I was wandering in the desert in service of my glorious leader. The question is at what temperature it would be set at. I am quite comfortable in a temperature range of 70F to 90F. My parents however, never having wandered far from temperate New England find comfort between 60F and 80F. I only visit my parents in the Summer..

      If I look at average daily highs and lows for Mumbai, India I see a few months where the average daily high hits 91F, and a few months where the average daily low is as low as 64F. A 27F spread.

      If we wander over to Kuwait. The average daily high is as much as 112F and the average daily low gets down to 45F. A 67F spread.

      If my parents go to India they are going to have a big air conditioning bill and no heat bill. If I go to India I will have a small heat bill and even smaller air conditioning bill because the natural temperatures in India are close to my comfort zone.

      If either of us goes to Kuwait, we are both going to have big energy bills. Both of our comfort zones are 20F wide and the temperature spread in Kuwait is 67F.

      GDP and PPP are metrics of wealth based on the value of goods and services people living in rich countries define. The problem being rich countries are mostly temperate.

      If we are creative we can have a new metric of wealth based on the spread of temperatures we are forced to endure. It’s a fairly good measure of comfort. In real life we tend to spend our money purchasing comfort. For sake of argument I would propose a 10F spread as wealthy, a 20F spread as middle class and anything more then a 30F spread as poverty.

      Using this new metric, the amount of energy that needs to be expended in Brazil and India to raise the standard of living to ‘middle class’ is fairly trivial. The average daily high and low spread is already less then 30F.

      The amount of energy needed to raise the standard of living to ‘middle class’ in temperate countries or countries like Kuwait is substantial. As average daily high and low temperature spread is more then 60F.

  7. Umm, harrywr2… That is brilliant. You should either work that up into an article (wanna guest post here?) or let someone (like me?) steal it.

  8. Pingback: India’s Ambitious Plans for Coal | 3000 Quads

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