Is India able to avoid electricity supply outage?

Recently, India has suffered the historical scale blackouts. The country is likely to cause further crisis in the near future since its historical growth of electricity supply capacity is not enough to catch up with economic growth.

Electricity output and power generation capacity in India have increased straightly over the past few decades. But change of annual average utilization rates at Indian power plants suggests electricity supply capacity has not increased enough compared to rising demand. The utilization rate rose to more than 50% from about 40% in 1980. Under such annual average rate, power plants seem to face shortage risk of supply during the high demand season.

The below chart is comparing growth rates between India and China. China's annual growth of the Gross Domestic Product has mostly exceeded India's since mid 1980's.

Although GDP growth rates show a similar trend between two emerging nations, annual growth of electricity output in India is apparently lower than China after 2000's.

Average growth rate of Chinese GDP during the first decade in the 21st century was 10%. It was higher than India's 7%, and might had caused the different growth rates of electricity supply between two nations. However, annual average growth of India's electricity output during the same period was only 5% compared to 12% in China.
It is doubtful that India has been providing enough electricity supply capacity to meet her own demand.

Ample investments should be done into the electricity supply sector, if India needs stable economic growth.
Thermal power plants have attracted larger part of investments into the Indian power utility sector in the past three decades. Thermal power's share among India's total power generation capacity was 60% in 1980, but it has risen to 70% now.

Indian thermal power plants are relying on coal as their fuel. About 75% of regional coal supply is consumed by the electricity sector.
Even if India is a coal producing country, domestic production has not covered its rapid growth of coal demand after mid-1990's. Imports are increasing year by year.

Coal imports are accelerating in 2010's especially, because the growth of domestic production has slowed down. That is likely to cause another problem in the near future.

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