India’s Power Sector: Data Roundup

By Niraj Patel

India's power infrastructure woes will not be easy to untangle. Source: Darren and Brad's flickr photostream, used under a creative commons license.

On July 30 and 31 of this year India suffered two power outages in as many days, both the largest in world history, leaving an estimate 680 million in the dark.  For decades India has under invested in its power sector and power generation and transmission has consistently lagged demand, leading to rolling blackouts as the norm. Here are some figures highlighting the condition of India’s power sector, trends moving forward, and how the sector measures up against other emerging economies.

Number of Indians who reportedly lost power on July 31st: 680 million

Number of those who never had power to begin with: 150 million

Number of Indians / percentage of population with no access to electricity: 404 million / 33%

By comparison percentage without electricity in Brazil and China respectively: 3 and 1

Top constraint reported by medium-sized manufacturing firms in India’s urban formal sector: electricity

Top constraint reported by micro-sized firms in the urban formal and informal sector: electricity

Estimated impact on economic growth due to chronic electricity shortages: 0.5%

India’s energy shortfall between base load requirement and availability (FY 2011-2012): 10.3%

India’s annual rate of capacity expansion over the last 5 years: ~3%

Annual capacity expansion needed over the next 5 to prevent a larger shortfall: ~15%

To fully meet demand and eliminate the shortfall: ~25%

Percent of India’s total power output lost in transmission and distribution in 2009: 24

Percentages for Brazil, China, Indonesia, and South Africa respectively: 17, 5, 10, and 10

Percentage of India’s installed generating capacity that is coal-based 2009, 2017*: 56, 67

India’s coal production in millions of tons, 2009, 2017*: 431, 565

Coal imports needed to meet consumption needs in millions of tons 2009, 2017 *: 71, 185

Number of years India’s domestic coal reserves can meet demand at current consumption rates: 570

Total power sector investment recommended by a McKinsey report over the next 5 years: $600 billion

Total recommended by India’s Department of Policy and Industrial Promotion’s Working Group on Power in the 12th Five Year Plan: $250 billion

*indicates an estimate.

Mr. Niraj Patel is a research intern with the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS.


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