India is mainly dependent on fossil fuels for her commercial energy, which constitutes 59% of the total energy consumed. Coal together with lignite constitutes the primary source (58%) of energy supply in commercial sector, followed by mineral oil (31%), natural gas (7.6%), renewable sources like hydro (3%), wind and solar etc. The total coal reserve is estimated at 196 billion tones (5.7% of the world’s coal reserve).
These coal deposits are mainly confined to the four states of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh), Orissa and West Bengal and are largely utilised for generating thermal power. The lignite reserves are mainly found in Tamil Nadu (7,730 million tons), Rajasthan (870 million tons), Pondicherry (586 million tons) and Gujarat (383 million tons). These are also being utilised for generating power.
The present assessment of hydel power potential is 600 billion units which amount to 84,000 MW at 60 per cent load factor. Out of the total hydel potential, nearly 14 per cent has been developed and another 7 percent is being developed. In addition, 56 pumped storage hydel schemes have been identified with a probable potential of 94,000 MW. Another 5,000 MW of potential exists for exploitation through mini/micro/small hydel schemes.
The prognosticated geological reserves of hydrocarbons are estimated at 21.31 billion tones of which 61 per cent are offshore and 39 per cent on land. Out of this, the geological reserves established are only 5.32 billion tones. It is stipulated that half of the reserves represent natural gas of which only 12 per cent has been established.
The availability of resources for nuclear power can acquire significance only with fast breeder technology. On the ‘non-conventional’ front, while solar energy is abundant, it is estimated that wind energy potential is about 20,000 MW. There is also some scope for exploiting geo-thermal, ocean thermal and tidal energy at certain locations. Extensive a forestation at the village level can meet the local biomass requirements.
According to the projections of the 14 the Power Survey Committee Report, the electricity generation requirement from utilities will be about 824 billion units by 2006-07 A.D. The production of coal and petroleum products for the same should reach 460 million tones and 125 million tons respectively by that time.