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India’s power demand to grow exponentially, met largely by coal, in the coming decade, and by renewables thereafter

image credit: Rajat Kapoor (rjt.kpr)
Rajat Kapoor's picture
Managing Director - Energy, and Oil & Gas AWR Lloyd India Limited

A multilingual, Energy & Sustainability professional with over 18 years of performance in:Strategy & Advisory                              Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)  ...

  • Member since 2021
  • 8 items added with 4,051 views
  • Oct 26, 2021

India's power demand is expected to increase by 8 – 8.5 % over last fiscal (FY 2020 – 21) supported by (a) lower consumption base last year, (b) marked improvement in economic activity, and (c) below average monsoons in key agri states leading to higher demand from the agriculture segment during the cultivating season of June – Aug 2021.

As of 20210, the country’s power sector is still heavily dependent on coal, with 72 thermal power plants providing nearly 70% of India’s power demand – nearly 1200 Terawatt hour (TWh) of the total consumption of nearly 1600 TWh produced in the country

Wind and Solar currently provide just 16% and 8% respectively of the total demand. However this is slated to change in the coming years as the country ramps up its efforts to increase renewable generation capacity - 𝘎𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘐𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘢 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘤. 100 𝘎𝘞 𝘵𝘰 450 𝘎𝘞 𝘣𝘺 2030.

As per the recently released, World Energy Outlook 2021, IEA forecasts that’s India's power demand is slated to nearly treble to 5000 TWh by 2050, let primarily by renewable sources of energy.
Based on IEA’s conservative case (STEPS: Stated Policy Scenario), where future trends are plotted on the basis of ‘current’ policy statements and declarations made by concerned Government and their respective regulatory and/ or stator governing bodies, wind and solar are expected to provide more than 60% of India's total electricity needs by 2050 (see chart)

𝐖𝐢𝐧𝐝: from a modest base of 68 TWh of supply in 2020, wind generation will more than three fold jump to 200 TWh by 2030, and see another massive increase to 916 TWh by 2050.
𝐒𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐏𝐕: based on current government policies and the surge in solar power investments across the country, solar generation is expected to grow a massive 32 times from its currently base of 65 TWh in 2020, to nearly 2100 TWh of supply by 2050. Thus making solar the dominant electricity supply source with a nearly 42% share in the country’s power mix
𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐥: coal is likely to remain a key player as the country slowly transitions to cleaner forms of energy, whilst maintaining a balance to supply its energy hungry and growing populace.

In the short term (till 2030), thermal power is expected to still supply 55% of India's electricity needs but this is seen to fall drastically by 2050 when thermal power would generate just 950 TWh of the total 5000 TWh consumed in the country.
However, at 19% coal will still remain an important power generating source – above wind (18%) and natural gas (3%). It seems it is hard for India to kick its coal addition!

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 26, 2021

The challenge, though, is how long will those coal assets being built today last into the future? That's going to have a long tail, won't it? 

Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Oct 26, 2021

Hi Matt

Coal power plant lasts for 40 years in case of overall rehabilitation has been conducted after 25 years of continuous operation. The rehabilitation process is cost-effective.


Dr. Amal Khashab's picture
Dr. Amal Khashab on Oct 26, 2021

Hi Rajat

I agree with your last statement, that it is hard for India to kick its coal addition , but I want to add: India can adopt the clean coal technologies.

Ashish  Kumar's picture
Ashish Kumar on May 13, 2022

Next decade India will depends on Fossil fuel ( Thermal plant) as base load . we need to approach hybrid model for Net Zero emission considering COP26 commitment .
Key challenges for Thermal plant
Performance improvement
Advance maintenance
Value Chain development for Green Hydrogen
Capex , Opex

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 13, 2022

What's going to be the rate of build/retirement of those fossil plants in India, or is it more just about continuing to lean on the plants that are currently online today? 

Rajat Kapoor's picture
Thank Rajat for the Post!
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