In 2022, India's consumption of energy outlined a scenario dominated primarily by fossil fuels whilst moving at a slow pace on the road towards cleaner sources of energy. The total electricity consumption per capita was approximately 150 watts/person, significantly lower than the global average of 412 watts/person. About 115 watts/person, which is over two-thirds of the total, stemmed from fossil sources, especially coal, which accounted for almost 111 watts/person. Low-carbon energy constituted only about 34 watts/person, a bit over a fifth of the total electricity consumption, with hydropower leading at roughly 14 watts/person, followed by solar and wind, equally adding up to approximately 13 watts/person. Notwithstanding these prevailing conditions, it’s noteworthy to highlight that India was a net exporter of electricity in spite of its low generation. The effects of such a low level of electricity generation, however, could impede the country's economic and social development, given that the availability of sufficient electricity is a catalyst for all-round progress.
The aforesaid state of affairs underscores the necessity for India to accelerate its shift towards low-carbon electricity generation – as exemplified by many countries worldwide. As seen from the data, countries like Sweden, France, and Finland generate a significant portion of their electricity from nuclear resources, ranging from around 500 to 560 watts/person, while Denmark and Germany have honed their utilization of wind energy to approximately 370 and 173 watts/person, respectively. Dovetailing with India's climate and geographic likeness, we notice countries such as Australia leveraging solar energy to generate about 147 watts/person. Therefore, embracing nuclear technology, harnessing wind energy and capitalizing on abundantly available solar resources could potentially be the cornerstone for India's clean and sustainable energy plan.
Historically, India's journey in the realm of low-carbon electricity generation predominantly revolved around hydropower. Since the late 1980s, there have been significant fluctuations in hydroelectric power generation, with dramatic increases observed in the years 1988, 1998, 2005 and 2013, followed by substantial declines in the years 2008 and 2012. More recently, since the start of the 21st century, and specifically in the past decade, the focus has somewhat shifted, and we notice an incremental emphasis on solar energy. There's a discernible and progressive increase in electricity generation from solar energy starting from 10 TWh in 2017 and climaxing to around 27 TWh in 2022. This trend, while encouraging, signifies just the initial steps of a long journey towards a greener and more sustainable future.