The electricity sector in India had an installed capacity of 207.85 Gigawatt (GW) as of September 2012, the world's fifth largest. Captive power plants generate an additional 31.5 GW. Thermal power plants constitute 66% of the installed capacity, hydroelectric about 19% and rest being a combination of wind, small hydro, biomass, waste-to-electricity, and nuclear. India generated 855 BU (855 000 MU i.e. 855 TWh) electricity during 2011-12 fiscal.
In terms of fuel, coal-fired plants account for 56% of India's installed electricity capacity, compared to South Africa's 92%; China's 77%; and Australia's 76%. After coal, renewal hydropower accounts for 19%, renewable energy for 12% and natural gas for about 9%.
In December 2011, over 300 million Indian citizens had no access to electricity. Over one third of India's rural population lacked electricity, as did 6% of the urban population. Of those who did have access to electricity in India, the supply was intermittent and unreliable. In 2010, blackouts and power shedding interrupted irrigation and manufacturing across the country.
The per capita average annual domestic electricity consumption in India in 2009 was 96 kWh in rural areas and 288 kWh in urban areas for those with access to electricity, in contrast to the worldwide per capita annual average of 2600 kWh and 6200 kWh in the European Union. India's total domestic, agricultural and industrial per capita energy consumption estimate vary depending on the source. Two sources place it between 400 to 700 kWh in 2008–2009. As of January 2012, one report found the per capita total consumption in India to be 778 kWh.
India currently suffers from a major shortage of electricity generation capacity, even though it is the world's fourth largest energy consumer after United States, China and Russia. The International Energy Agency estimates India needs an investment of at least $135 billion to provide universal access of electricity to its population.
The International Energy Agency estimates India will add between 600 GW to 1200 GW of additional new power generation capacity before 2050. This added new capacity is equivalent to the 740 GW of total power generation capacity of European Union (EU-27) in 2005. The technologies and fuel sources India adopts, as it adds this electricity generation capacity, may make significant impact to global resource usage and environmental issues.
India's electricity sector is amongst the world's most active players in renewable energy utilization, especially wind energy. As of December 2011, India had an installed capacity of about 22.4 GW of renewal technologies-based electricity, exceeding the total installed electricity capacity in Austria by all technologies.
India's network losses exceeded 32% in 2010 including non-technical losses, compared to world average of less than 15%. Both technical and non-technical factors contribute to these losses, but quantifying their proportions is difficult. But the Government pegs the national T&D losses at around 24% for the year 2011 & has set a target of reducing it to 17.1% by 2017 & to 14.1% by 2022. Some experts estimate that technical losses are about 15% to 20%, A high proportion of non‐technical losses are caused by illegal tapping of lines, but faulty electric meters that underestimate actual consumption also contribute to reduced payment collection. A case study in Kerala estimated that replacing faulty meters could reduce distribution losses from 34% to 29%.
Key implementation challenges for India's electricity sector include new project management and execution, ensuring availability of fuel quantities and qualities, lack of initiative to develop large coal and natural gas resources present in India, land acquisition, environmental clearances at state and central government level, and training of skilled manpower to prevent talent shortages for operating latest technology plants.
Read more about Electricity Sector In India: History, Demand, Electricity Consumption, Generation, Other Renewable Energy, Problems With India's Power Sector, Resource Potential in Electricity Sector, Rural Electrification, Human Resource Development, Trading, Regulation and Administration
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