The World Bank, in a latest report, said India, despite making a remarkable progress in electricity distribution, still faces challenges to meet its growing demand for power and reliable supply still remains low in the country.
India has made enormous progress in expanding household access to electricity and reducing power shortages over the last few years. In 2018 India achieved 100 per cent village electrification, the World Bank Regional Report said on Wednesday.
“Notwithstanding this remarkable progress, India still faces an enormous need to meet the growing demand for electricity”, said the agency in a report titled ‘In the Dark: How Much Do Power Sector Distortions Cost South Asia’.
With growing population, rapid urbanisation and a growing economy, the demand for electricity in India will almost triple between 2018 and 2040, the World Bank said.
Even as air pollution from fossil fuel-based power generation poses another daunting challenge, coal is India’s dominant source of energy, the report added.
The report also acknowledged that post independence in 1947, India began adopting legislative measures to develop the core electricity sector followed by reforms in later years, but despite of all these the state power utilities have struggled to improve their performance.
The inefficient state government owned power plants, under-investment in transmission, under-priced electricity, high losses of distribution utilities, groundwater depletion from cheap electricity are the key challenges to India’s power generation sector.
The Central Electricity Authority predicts that India is likely to become a power surplus country in fiscal 2019, it said. The increase in solar and wind energy since 2014 has been particularly large. India now ranks 4th in the world in wind power based capacity after China, the US and Germany and 6th in solar-based capacity.
The World Bank said “Through various initiatives and incentive programs, the government of India plans to add 227 GW of renewable energy capacity by the end of 2022.”
As per 2018 Global Competitiveness Report, India ranks at 80th position among 137 economies in the reliability of its electricity supply, the report added.