India’s Power Struggle – India’s Electricity Sector: Achievements and Challenges | 14 October 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about India's Electricity Sector, its achievements and Challenges


  • GS3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc


  • India is currently the third largest electricity generator globally, with a total installed power generation capacity of 404,132.95 MW as of July 31, 2022.
  • The country has recorded rapid growth in electricity generation since 1985, increasing from 179 TW-hr in 1985 to 1,057 TW-hr in 2012.
  • However, despite significant achievements in the power sector, India still faces challenges in meeting the rapidly increasing demand for electricity.


  • Achievements:
    • Access to Electricity: Since 2000, 700 million people have gained access to electricity in India.
    • Capacity Installation: In the 11th and 12th Five Year Plans, a massive impetus was given to bolster the power sector. Against the targeted 88.5 GW, the actual capacity achieved was 99 GW, with the bulk coming from coal-fired plants.
    • Renewable Energy: The National Energy Plan for 2017-22 projected a peak electricity demand of 225 GW and total energy requirement of 1,566 BU for FY2022, with plans to increase renewable energy (RE) capacity to 175 GW by FY2022. However, at the end of FY2017, total installed capacity of RE stood at just 57 GW, against the total installed capacity of 326 GW.
    • Electricity Generation: India generated about 1,628 terawatt hours (TWh) of net electricity in 2021, an increase of 8% from 2020[4]. In the fiscal year 2022-23, the total electricity generation in the country was 1,844 TWh, of which 1,618 TWh was generated by utilities.
  • Challenges:
    • Supply-Demand Mismatch: Power shortages occur in India because the supply is unable to match rapidly increasing demand. It is difficult to make precise predictions as to how power demand will pan out due to its highly volatile nature.
    • Renewable Energy: Despite India being the fourth largest globally in terms of installed capacity, a lot more needs to be done to expedite RE installation. The capacity shortfall has meant any spike in temperatures or demand patterns affected continuity of the energy supply system.
    • Conventional Energy Sources: Fossil fuels accounted for 77% of India’s electricity production in 2022, with coal having the largest share at 74%. The country has a low power demand per capita of 1.3 MWh, one third that of the global average (3.6 MWh). India’s electricity generation, however, is 45% more carbon intensive (632 gCO2/kWh) than the global average (436 gCO2 per kWh).

Way Forward:

  • India has made significant strides in the power sector, with achievements in access to electricity, capacity installation, and electricity generation. However, challenges remain in meeting the rapidly increasing demand for electricity, particularly in the areas of renewable energy and conventional energy sources. The country needs to expedite RE installation and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels to achieve a clean transition.

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