Consumption of Commercial and Non­commercial Sources of Energy Trends and Projections

On the electricity side, the country may need over 500 billion kilo-watt-hour (kwh) of energy in the year 2004-05 with a total install capacity of at least 150,000 MW (Mega Watt). If we compare these figures with the present level of production of about 150 million tones of coal and lignite, 26 million tones of crude oil and 150 billion kwh of electricity, with a capacity of 43,000 MW, we find a frustrative figure.

In spite of improving the efficiency of utilization and better demand management, there is always picture of deficiency. Hence efforts are needed to face the situation in future years to come.

Another important aspect of energy strategy to be discussed is the energy requirement in rural areas. In India, rural population would still constitute about 70 per cent of the total population by the turn of the century.

To provide the energy requirement of this large segment is always neglected and overlooked. The per capita useful energy consumed per day in rural areas is about 285 k-cal (kilo-calorie) as compared to 414 k-cal in urban areas. Scarcity of commercial sources of energy like petroleum, electricity, coal and natural gas on one side and fast deforestation, dwindling supply of firewood and gradual commercialization of traditional fuel sources on the other, has made it very difficult for the rural people to secure adequate energy supply at a cost which is affordable to them. Hence, now, it is time to give much emphasis on enhancing the non-commercial sources, like bio-gas plants, social forestry (biomass energy) and improved cooking gadgets etc. in rural areas.