From Burning fuels to Using Electrons

What is current source of energy in India? ( 2022-23 )

  • Combustion – 81%
  • Electricity – 19%

What is the energy mix in india with regards to fossil-fuel based and renewable energy?

According to the data from the Ministry of Power1, the IEA2, and Statista3, the energy mix in India as of May 2023 is as follows:

  • Fossil fuel: 56.8% of the total installed capacity of 417.668 GW, comprising of:
    • Coal: 49.1% (205.235 GW)
    • Lignite: 1.6% (6.62 GW)
    • Gas: 6.0% (24.824 GW)
    • Diesel: 0.1% (0.589 GW)
  • Non-fossil fuel: 43.0% of the total installed capacity, comprising of:
    • Renewable energy sources (excluding large hydro): 30.2% (125.692 GW), including:
      • Wind: 10.3% (42.868 GW)
      • Solar: 16.1% (67.078 GW)
      • Biomass power/cogeneration: 2.5% (10.248 GW)
      • Waste to energy: 0.1% (0.554 GW)
      • Small hydro power: 1.2% (4.944 GW)
    • Hydro: 11.2% (46.85 GW)
    • Nuclear: 1.6% (6.78 GW)

The electricity generation target for the year 2023-24 is 1750 BU, with a projected share of 75.7% for fossil fuel and 24.3% for non-fossil fuel2. India has set a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, and 450 GW by 20303.

If the installed capacity of non-fossil fuel is 43%, why is the share of electricity from non-fossil fuel only 24.3%? Where is the energy getting lost?

That is a good question.

The share of electricity from non-fossil fuel depends on several factors, such as the

  • availability
  • reliability
  • dispatchability of different sources of energy.

Availability refers to how often a source of energy can produce electricity. For example, solar and wind energy are intermittent sources, meaning they depend on the weather and the time of day. They are not available all the time, unlike coal or gas plants that can run continuously. Therefore, the availability factor of solar and wind energy is lower than that of fossil fuels.

Reliability refers to how consistent and predictable a source of energy is. For example, hydro power depends on the water level and flow rate of rivers, which can vary seasonally and annually. Nuclear power plants can also face technical issues or maintenance shutdowns that affect their output. Therefore, the reliability factor of hydro and nuclear power is lower than that of fossil fuels.

Dispatchability refers to how quickly and easily a source of energy can respond to changes in demand and supply. For example, coal and gas plants can ramp up or down their output depending on the grid requirements, while solar and wind energy cannot be controlled or stored easily. Therefore, the dispatchability factor of fossil fuels is higher than that of renewable energy sources.

These factors affect the capacity factor of different sources of energy, which is the ratio of actual electricity generation to the maximum possible generation over a period of time. The capacity factor reflects how efficiently and effectively a source of energy is utilized. According to the IEA1, the average capacity factors for different sources of energy in India in 2019 were as follows:

  • Coal: 58%
  • Lignite: 54%
  • Gas: 22%
  • Diesel: 13%
  • Hydro: 33%
  • Wind: 20%
  • Solar: 19%
  • Biomass power/cogeneration: 17%
  • Waste to energy: 12%
  • Small hydro power: 24%
  • Nuclear: 63%

As you can see, the capacity factors of non-fossil fuel sources are generally lower than those of fossil fuel sources, which means they produce less electricity per unit of installed capacity. This explains why the share of electricity from non-fossil fuel is lower than the share of installed capacity from non-fossil fuel.

Another reason for the low share of electricity from non-fossil fuel is the lack of adequate transmission and distribution infrastructure to connect the renewable energy projects to the grid and deliver the electricity to the consumers. India has been developing its Green Energy Corridor (GEC) projects to address this issue, but there are still challenges such as land acquisition, environmental clearance, grid stability, and financial viability2.

I hope this answer helps you understand the difference between installed capacity and electricity generation from non-fossil fuel in India. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask me. 😊

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