Webserver Date: 15-October-2019

Electricity Demand Projection


Many national and international agencies have made projections of energy demands of India. We first present a survey of various studies and then give our projections.

A Survey of Various Studies

There is a considerable spread in energy demand forecasts made for India by various investigators. Some important forecasts/scenarios are summarized in Table 3.


Various working groups of the steering committee on energy sector for the 10th five year plan projected an average primary commercial energy demand growth rate of 5.74%/yr for the two forthcoming five year plans. In view of (a) the increased emphasis on energy efficiency and energy conservation, (b) an expected higher contribution of the service sector to the GDP in future and (c) the impact of information technology and e-commerce, the steering committee came up with a lower figure of 4.25%/yr for the demand growth rate .


The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) , carried out an analysis of the Indian energy scenario and suggested strategies for sustainable development . In their base case scenario the primary energy growth rate was taken as 4.4%/yr during the period 1997-2019 and 3.6%/yr during the period 2020-2047. For electricity, the corresponding growth rates were 5.7%/yr and 3.9%/yr. In the alternative scenario, growth rates are smaller, 3.7%/yr and 3.0%/yr for the primary energy and 5.1%/yr and 3.4%/yr for electricity. Both of these scenarios assume a very large dependence on imports, which is projected to increase from about 20% in the year 1997 to about 70% in the year 2047 in the base scenario and 60% in the alternative scenario.


The International Energy Outlook 2002 (IEO) of the United States predicts for India a reference primary energy consumption growth rate of 3.6%/yr during the period 1997 to 2020. The high and low growth scenarios correspond to 4.5%/yr and 2.6%/yr respectively. For the electricity consumption, the three corresponding growth rates for the above period are 3.8%/yr, 4.5%/yr and 2.6%/yr.


Under the project “A Long-term Perspective on Environment and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region” of the Environment Agency of the Government of Japan the primary energy consumption growth rates, for India, were projected to be 3.9%/yr till the year 2025, 2.6%/yr till the year 2050 and 1.8%/yr till the year 2100 under their high estimate category . Similar growth rates have been assumed for India in another study “US-Japan Energy Cooperation to Help Achieve Sustainable Development in Asia” .


The primary and electricity energy growth rate forecasts made by the Institute of Energy Economics of Japan (IEEJ), for India, are 5.2%/yr and 5.4%/yr respectively for the forthcoming twenty years .


The Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineers of the United Kingdom in their study on the role of nuclear energy in generating electricity have referred to Morrison’s projections of world energy requirement. For the developing nations, those are based on 4%/yr until the year 2026, 3%/yr until the year 2050 and 2%/yr for the rest of the century.


In India, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) undertakes periodic electric power surveys (EPS) to make projections of the energy requirements of the country. These estimates guide the planning process for the capacity additions. CEA released its report on the 16th electric power survey in January 2001 and projected electricity growth requirement, for the period 1997-2012, to be about 6.5%/yr and 7.4%/yr in its two scenarios.


Beyond the year 2050, most of the energy growth forecasts are around 1 to 2%/yr.


Demand Projection: Our View

India’s GDP is growing fast. Energy Intensity of GDP has been observed to follow a certain trend worldwide. Below a certain level of development, growth results in increase in energy intensity. With further growth in economy, the energy intensity starts declining. Energy intensity of GDP in India is same as in OECD countries , when GDP is calculated in terms of the purchasing power parity (PPP). Energy-GDP elasticity , the ratio of the growth rates of the two, remained around 1.3 from early fifties to mid-seventies. Since then it has been continuously decreasing. Electricity is the most important component of the primary energy. Electricity-GDP elasticity was 3.0 till the mid-sixties. It has also decreased since then. Reasons for these energy–economy elasticity changes are: demographic shifts from rural to urban areas , structural economic changes towards lighter industry, impressive growth of services, increased use of energy efficient devices, increased efficiency of conversion equipments and inter-fuel substitution with more efficient alternatives. Based on the CMIE data the average value of the Electricity-GDP elasticity during 1991-2000 has been calculated to be 1.213 and that of the primary energy- GDP elasticity to be 0.907. Estimating the future GDP growth rates of India from the projections made by Dominic Wilson and Roopa Purushothaman , taking the primary energy intensity fall to be 1.2 %/yr , extrapolating the electricity intensity fall from past data till the year 2022 and subsequently a constant fall of 1.2 %/yr the growth rates of the primary energy and electrical energy have been estimated by us as follows.


These rates form the basis of the projections reported in this study. It may be recalled that historical primary energy and electricity growth rates during the period 1981-2000 were 6%/yr and 7.8%/yr respectively.


Based on the growth rates given in the above table, per capita electricity generation would reach about 5300 kWh per year in the year 2052 and the total about 8000 billion kWh. By then the cumulative energy expenditure will be about 2400 EJ. The ratio of thermal equivalent of electrical energy to the primary commercial energy will rise from about 57% in the year 2002-03 to about 65% in the year 2052-53.


Power generation in India was only 4.1 billion kWh in the year 1947-48 and in the year 2002-03 it was more than 600 billion kWh. Considering the past record, the future economy growth scenario and likely boost to captive power plant sector as a result of changes arising due to Electricity Act 2003 , the target of generating about 8000 billion kWh per year by 2052 is achievable.


  1. Report of the Steering Committee on Energy Sector for 12th Five Year Plan, Government of India, Planning Commission (Sr. No. 1/2001, March-2002).
  2. It was earlier called Tata Energy Research Institute.
  3. Disha-Green India 2047, TERI, 2001.
  4. International Energy Outlook, Energy Information Administration, Appendices A, B and C, March 2002, ( accessed on 10.07.2002.
  5. A Long Term Perspective on Environment and Development in the Asia-Pacific Region, ( accessed on 30.05.2002.
  6. John Layman, US - Japan Energy Cooperation to Help Achieve Sustainable Development in Asia, Energy Outlook for Asia, Sep. 2000, ( accessed on 30.05.2002.
  7. Kazuya Fujime, IEEJ, ( http://eneken, accessed on 11.06.2002.
  8. Nuclear Energy-The Future Climate, The Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineering, U.K., June 1999, ( accessed on 24.05.2002.
  9. Sixteenth Electric Power Survey of India, Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power, Government of India, September 2000 (page 132).
  10. Energy Intensity of GDP is defined as the ratio of energy consumption to GDP e.g., MTOE/ Rs.1000 of GDP.
  11. Key World Energy Statistics, 2003, International Energy Agency.
  12. TERI Energy Data Directory & Yearbook 2000/2001, Tata Energy Research Institute, New Delhi, India.
  13. Movement from rural to urban areas influences energy-economy elasticity in several ways. It causes a shift from non-commercial energy to commercial energy particularly electricity. It also results in efficient use of energy and a shift towards services.
  14. Dominic Wilson and Roopa Purushothaman, ‘Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050’ Global Economics Paper No. 99, Goldman Sachs, 1st Oct. 2003 (
  15. From 2000 to 2030, global energy intensity will fall by 1.2% per year. Intensity will fall more quickly in the non-OECD regions, largely because of improved energy efficiency and structural economic changes towards lighter industry. See World Energy Outlook, Highlights, page 32 - 2002.
  16. This is higher than what this ratio is in developed countries and reflects the shift towards cleaner energy source due to likely advances in technology in the coming five decades.
  17. RKD Shah, “Strategies for Growth of Thermal Power”, Energy for Growth and Sustainability, Indian National Academy of Engineering, 1998. accessed on 28.10.2003.