Energy in India Spotlight

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textile worker in India using a foot-loom


With a population of over 1.2 billion people, India is home to nearly a sixth of the global population. Within the next 20 years, India is expected to surpass China as the most populous nation on Earth. Likewise, India’s economy is the tenth largest in the world in terms of GDP, experiencing dramatic growth in the wake of many liberalization programs in the 1990’s. When examined on a per capita income basis, however, India drops to a global ranking of 141st. The country is home to some of the poorest people on earth and faces a variety of social inequities and economic challenges that are exacerbated by its burgeoning population.

One of the largest issues facing India is the lack of energy, especially for the poorest segments of the population. A growing economy coupled with a booming population has increased the country’s demand for energy. India has the third largest energy demand in the world after China and the US, which can only be expected to grow in the future. Today, over 400 million people lack access to electricity in India. These people remain off the grid and rely on other forms of energy such as kerosene and wood to light their homes and cook food. Even those who have access to electricity from the grid may only have it intermittently, especially in urban areas where the grid is often illegally tapped and is largely unreliable.

Energy is a crucial component for any strategy that seeks to bring this enormous segment of the global population out of poverty. There does exist, however, vast potential for entrepreneurs who can provide clean, affordable, and reliable energy to underserved communities. The purpose of this feature page is to highlight some of the important realities that exist in the energy environment in India. Here, you will learn about the current state of energy access in India, the relevant government agencies and programs, the regulatory and investment environments, and some of the barriers that exist for enterprises looking to bring clean energy to the underserved in India.


Energy Access Introduction

This section covers the basics of energy access in India. Who has energy and where? Where does the energy come from? What are the various issues facing grid expansion and why are alternative energy sources crucial to any energy solution in India.

Government and Policy Overview

Here you can explore some of the major energy agencies and programs operating within the government. Who is responsible for providing energy? What are the major issues with the government’s approach? What legislation has been passed that can benefit energy enterprises?

Indian Energy Providers

This section discusses the various players in the energy sector including the government, large private energy producers, and distributed energy enterprises. Who is involved in the production and distribution of energy? Where are the majority of distributed energy enterprises, what are they doing, and where does opportunity exist?

Investment and Trade Environment

Here you can learn about the financial environment in India, which is important for new enterprises of any sort to understand. Trade and tariff structures, non-tariff barriers, subsidies, financing organizations, and other topics are discussed to help provide an overview of the investment environment in India.

Barriers to Entry and Scale

This section focuses on the many different barriers that energy enterprises face in India including geography, distribution, financing, affordability, and knowledge dissemination.