Power Generation - An Overview

A thermal powerplant in Kolkata. India's largest super thermal powerplants have capacities of over 2,000 MW each.

India is the third largest electricity producing nation in the world. Power generation has grown over 100 fold since independence to 1 272 TWh during 2014-15. Widespread power shortages (upto 13 % a decade ago) have become non-existant on a national scale although shortages will prevail in some regions. Thermal powerplants generate the bulk of the electricity produced in the country. Nuclear power capacity, currently at 4 780 MWe, is expected to be augmented in the future. The power sector has seen vast reforms especially after the passage of the Electricity Act 2003 including the formation of independent regulators like CERC.

Power Grid Corp. (PGCIL) operates the largest (95,000 circuit kms as on Jun 30 '12) grid sytems in the world and transmits over half of the total power generated (excl. captive) in India. India's captive power plants generated 68.2 bn kWh of electricity during 2003-04. Large captive power users include the aluminium, petrochemical and iron and steel industrial sectors.

17 825 MW of new power capacity was added to the grid in 2013-14. Renewable sources of energy, mainly wind and small hydro, contributed seven per cent of total electricity generation in 2006. India has set an ambitious target of a total of 175 000 MW of renewable capacity by 2022 to combat global climate warming and its ill effects. A total of 7 100 MW renewable energy generating capacity was added during 2015-16. Renewable energy generating capacity reach 42 849 MW in April '16. Solar capacity (incl. rooftop and off-grid) crossed 10 000 MW in later 2016.

Over 98 per cent of the nearly 600,000 villages spread across India have been electified at the end of Ap '16. The present government has planned for 100 % village electrification by 2018.
Power Generation (2013-14)
Type Capcity MW (May 2016) Generation Billion kWh
Thermal 211 670 792.5
Hydel 42 783 134.9
Nuclear 5 780 34.3
Renewables 42 849 (Mar/16) 2.8²
Captive (>1 MW)   68.2¹
¹ Captive (2003-04) includes 39.6 bn KWh Steam, 13.4 bn KWh Diesel, 14.9 bn KWh Gas Turbine, 0.2 bn KWh Wind and 0.1 bn KWh Hydro generated power.
² Wind power based on figures for the year 2003-04.

Power Related Links

Independent Power Projects

Private power projects commissioned and under construction >>

Thermal Power

India had a thermal generating capacity of ca 100,000 MW at the end of 2009.

Planned Ultra Mega Power Plants (UMPP)
PlantStateCapacity (MWe¹)Status
Sundargarh Orissa
Response to RfQ ext to Jan 31 '11
Surguja Chhattisgarh
Response to RfQ ext to Jan 7 '11
SasanMadhya Pradesh4,000 Partially commissioned
MundraGujarat4,000 Fully commissioned
KrishnapatnamAndhra Pradesh4,000 Project awarded to Reliance Energy
Tilaiya Jharkhand4,000 Project awarded to Reliance Energy

Hydro Power

India had total hydro generating capacity of 39,291 MW as on Aug 30 2012.

Nuclear Power

An Overview

Nuclear power generates less than 3 per cent of India's total electricity consumption. NPCIL, a public sector unit, operates 20 reactors at six nuclear plant sites across India. The total nuclear power capacity amounts to 5780 MWe and 32.5 billion kWh were generated in 2011-12. Seven reactors with a capacity to generate 5300 MWe are under various stages of construction. BHAVINI is constructing a 500 MWe Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam. Fast breeder technology uses spent fuel of plutonium and uranium from the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR, elsewhere known as CANDU) of the the other NPCIL plants. Uranium is mined by the Uranium Corp. of India Ltd. in Jaduguda, Jharkhand. The Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad fabricates the required nuclear fuel assemblies for the eventual generation of electricity. Thorium, due to large reserves in India, is also used used as nuclear fuel. New nuclear power plant clusters are plannedin collaboration with potential nuclear vendors such as Areva NP, GE-Hitachi, Westinghouse Electric and Atomstroyexport.

Nuclear Map of India >>

Nuclear Power Plants
PlantStateCapacity (MWe)¹Reactors
Rawatbhata (Kota)Rajasthan 1,180 6
KalpakkamTamil Nadu3902
NaroraUttar Pradesh4402
Kaiga Karnataka
Kudamkulam Tamil Nadu 1000 1
Nuclear Power Plants Under Construction
Rawatbhata (Kota)Rajasthan 14002
Kakrapur Gujarat
Kalpakkam Tamil Nadu
KudamkulamTamil Nadu 1000 1
¹ Megawatts of electrical output

Wind Power

A small windfarm with four installed turbines with a capacity of about one MW at Frasergunj, along the West Bengal coast.

The NRSE (New and Renewable Sources of Energy) sector is set to provide 10 per cent of the installed capacity by 2012 although harnessing NRSE to its full potential would mean a capacity addition in the range of 100,000 MW. India has the fifth largest wind power generating capacity (~7 % global market share) in the world with an installed capacity of 26 866 MW at the end of March 2016, behind only China, USA, Germany and Spain. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan have the largest installed capacities of wind power facilities in India. Wind power potential is largest in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, as each has a potential to generate wind power in excess of 5,000 MW.

NRSE - Manufacturers and Related Links

Other Renewable Sources of Energy (RES)

Other renewable sources of energy include small hydro projects (incl. tidal), solar, biomass gas, Biomass power and urban industrial waster power. The total generating capacity (incl. wind power and off-grid/captive power) amounted to 43 GW at the end of March 2016 accounting for 14 % of total capacity. Although wind energy holds a lion's share in the production of electricity among renewable sources of energy, bio-based power (agro residues & plantations), bagasse (sugar cane fibre residue) cogeneration and small hydro power plants (upto 25 MW) feed substantial amounts of electricity into the power grid. Solar energy based projects are being taken up at a rapidly increasing pace with a total generating capacity of over 5 200 MW at the end of Nov 2015. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission envisages 100 GW of solar power capacity in the national grid by 2022.