Indian National thermal Power generation Scenario and Sources of Energy in India

Indian National thermal Power generation Scenario and Sources of Energy in India

Indian National Thermal Power generation Scenario and Sources of Energy in India

At present, More than 65% of India's electricity generation capacity comes from thermal power generation plants by converting the chemical energy of the coal into electrical energy

National Thermal Power Generation Scenario:
The first electric light was demonstrated in India on 24-7-1879 at Calcutta.  Thermal power generation in India started in 1897 at Darjeeling with the installation of the first hydroelectric power plant in Asia. Lack of power is a major bottleneck for industrial development and economic growth of our country. In Jan 2013 installed capacity from various sources is 2.11 Lakhs MW and 34444 MW Captive generation.
In Jan 2013 the energy deficit is as below

 In Jan.2013 the per capita consumption of electricity is as below
In 12th five year plan i.e. from 1-4-2012 to 31-3-2017 planning commission have targeted for capacity addition of 88537MW (Thermal- 72340 MW 81.7% , Hydro- 10897 MW 12.3%, Nuclear-5300 MW 6%) 
The priority issues of power sector are below:
  1. Meeting the growing demand for electricity at an affordable cost
  2. Ensuring the security of energy supply through the appropriate mix of sources
  3. Minimize the environmental impacts
  4. Compliance of climate change needs

Various Sources of Energy in India

Energy sources are classified as below

1.  Nonrenewable Energy Sources :
  1. Coal
  2. Oil
  3. Natural Gas
  4. SYN Gas (Derived from coal)
  5. Nuclear
2.  Renewable Energy Sources :
  • Hydro
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Bio mass
  • Geo thermal
  • Tidal
Details of key Energy Sources
Non Renewable Sources of Energy:
A fossil fuel coal is burnt in a boiler to produce steam which drives a steam turbine to which generator is coupled which produces electricity.
  • Coal is available in abundant quantity. Coal stock is sufficient for at least for the next 200 years.
  • Reliable source of power 24x7, unlike renewable wind, solar
  • Comparatively low capital cost investment than nuclear, solar, wind
  • Cheapest continuous predictable energy
  • Thermal plant technology and coal mining technology are well developed and matured.
  • Release of CO2 leads to global warming
  • Emission of harmful substances such as sox, nox, mercury, arsenic, acid rain causes health hazards to the surrounding population. However modern equipment have reduced the emission.
  • Combustion of coal leaves behind ash for disposal.
  • Coal mining leads to pollution of water and air surrounding mine and causes health hazards to the surrounding people.
Oil is burnt in a boiler to produce steam which drives the turbine to which generator is coupled to generate electricity. Up to 1970 oil was used as a fuel for generating electricity on a commercial basis but then oil prices shoot up and oil becomes uneconomical for power generation.
  • Easy to handle, store, transport.
  • Due to high calorific value, less quantity of oil is required as compared to coal.
  • CHP and AHP is not required
  • Less availability, costly hence uneconomical
  • Leads to an emission of Sox, Nox, and Co2 and proves hazardous to surrounding people.
Natural Gas:
Natural Gas primarily consist of Methane. The gas combustor is placed between air compressors and gas turbine. High-pressure flue gases coming out of combustor drives a gas turbine to which generator is connected and heat recovery steam generator utilizes hot exhaust gases coming out of gas turbine to produce steam which drives steam turbine and generator. So it is called as a combined cycle.
  • Half the emission of hazardous gases as compared to coal.
  • Takes relatively less time for start up and load picking so useful for peak load.
  • The construction period is less compare to coal.
  • Availability is not even adequate to meet its non-electricity requirements such as fertilizers etc.
  • Cost is unaffordable.
  • Many gas-based plants are shut down due to nonavailability of gas.
Synthetic gas:
Synthetic gas is derived from coal, heavy petroleum residue, biomass by the gasification process. Similar to combined cycle, synthetic gas is used as fuel to the gas turbine and heat from exhaust is used through HRSG for producing steam for the steam turbine. In addition to this steam produced by the synthetic gas cooler in gasification process is used in a steam turbine to improve overall efficiency. So in gasification process of synthetic gas, steam is produced and this is the reason it is called as integrated gasification and combined cycle IGCC. This is upcoming technology.
  • Clean fuel
  • Less pollution
  • Very Costly Fuel
  • Upcoming technology
 In nuclear reactor heat is generated through the process of nuclear fission and this heat is used to produce steam to drive turbine and generator.
  • Clean power
  • 24x7 Power with large capacity unit rating
  • Low fuel cost.
a.      If by accident radioactive materials are released, tremendous negative impact is caused on health of people, plants and animals.
b.      Accident in Japan at Fukushima in March 2011 has stalled the expansion of nuclear projects.
c.       Biggest challenge is to address the public and policy makers’ perception about safety of nuclear plant.
Renewable Energy Sources:
The potential of water falling under gravitational force is utilized to rotate hydro turbine to which generator is coupled.
  • Water is most desirable, reliable and environment friendly.
  • Operating cost is low, after generating electricity water is used for agriculture. Water gets replenish due to rains.
  • Time for start is very small. Start and stop is easy.
  • Amount of power generated depends on altitude difference between dam and turbine so finding new places is problem.
  • Construction of dam takes lot of time and money.
  • In drought like situations water is to be preserved for drinking, agriculture, industries and power generation becomes last priority.
Solar panels harness the energy of sun light and convert it into electricity by photovoltaic effect.
Solar panel contains a system of solar cells that are interconnected so that they can transfer the induced voltage/current to generate electricity.
MNRE (Ministry of new and renewable energy) plans to install 20000MW Grid connected solar power, 2000MW off Grid solar power and cover 20 million square meter with solar energy collectors by 2020.
  • Solar is safest source of Energy
  • Clean (pollution free, waste free and noise free)
  • Cost of generation is very high.
  • Land acquisition is a challenge for farm project since land requirement is about 4.5 acre per MW
  • When sun light is not there, need for other sources of energy is felt.
Wind drives the wind turbine to which generator is connected.
  • Very low impact on environment (only low frequency noise)
  • No byproduct
  • When wind is not blowing, need for use of other sources of energy is felt
  • Not reliable
Bio mass

Bio mass relates to energy created by organic matter such as vegetation which can be bagass, switch grass etc., which can be easily cultivated. Forest and agro residue, agriculture waste are also used as fuel. These technologies are promoted in rural areas to derive the energy from waste. Largest biomass plant in India is 20 MW in Rajasthan.


  • Utilization of waste material reduces impact on disposal
  • Cheap fuel


  • Collecting waste in sufficient quantities is difficult.
  • Emission of hazardous gases since fuel is burnt
Geo thermal
Hot water or steam coming beneath the earth is utilized for electricity generation. Very few sources are available in India as such commercial use is insignificant.
  • No impact on environment
  • Very few sources available in India, as such no potential. India plans to set up experimental capacity of 2 MW in J&K.
Tide energy is converted in to electrical energy.
  • Needs no fuel, tides are predictable
  • Technology is not matured.
  • Barrage and reservoirs are required to be built which are very expensive
  • Harmful to aquatic species
  • Can provide power for 10 hrs a day
Plant load factor of various energy sources
1 MW installed capacity can generate per annum maximum 1000x24x365=8760000 kwh = 8.76 MU
Source MU/MW PLF
Coal 7 80%
oil 7 80%
Gas 7  
Nuclear 7 80%
Syn Gas 7 80%
Hydro 3 35%
Wind 2 23%
Small hyd 3 35%
Solar Pv 1.66 19%
Biomass 6 70%

Conclusion -

From above discussion it is very clear that all sources of energy have some Pros and Cons and for sustainable growth of country and keeping in view various environmental impacts we should use proper mix of energy sources.
Looking at feasibility, Coal based power plants will definitely have major share in energy mix because of its advantage of comparatively cheap power with reliability and large unit size (250,500,660,800 mw with multiple units at one place) and matured technology of power plant as well as coal mining.
Coal production and coal transport infrastructure is necessarily to be developed adequately to achieve required power of the country. Environmental issues should be taken care of by continuous betterment in technology.
Indian National Thermal Power Generation Scenario |  Sources Of Energy In India | Various Sources Of Energy In Power Plant | Electricity Generation In Power Plant

For Training and Consultancy Services Contact us on 022-62210100 or Email us on

Share this Post:

Related Posts: