As of July 2017, thermal energy installations to produce electricity accounted for 67% of India’s installed energy capacity--0.5 percentage-points higher than five years ago--while non-fossil fuel based capacity was 33%, the same as 2012, according to data from the Central Electricity Authority of India.

India has committed to increasing its non-fossil fuel generation capacity to 40% by 2030, according to its nationally determined contribution to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

India accounted for 5% of the world’s renewable-energy capacity, and invested a record $9.7 billion (Rs 64,990 crore) in renewable energy installations during 2016, according to the Renewables Global Status Report 2017, IndiaSpend reported on June 7, 2017.

However, India is falling behind on its ambitious plan to increase renewable capacity to 175 GW by 2022. India must add 116.7 GW of renewable energy capacity over the next five years, an average of 23.3 GW per year or, over three times the capacity it added in 2016, according to this IndiaSpend analysis on January 7, 2017.

The power sector in India produces about half of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the country (805.4 million tonne), according to the power ministry’s Draft National Electricity Plan 2016; coal is the most polluting of all power sources.

In four decades, between 1971 and 2012, India's use of coal-based power plants for electricity rose 21 percentage-points from 49% in 1971 to 70% post-2012, according to World Bank data. Actual generation from coal-based plants is a different metric than installed capacity, though they are related. Installed capacity is the maximum power a plant can produce as opposed to what is actually generated.

Coal continues to account for about three-fourths of the country’s electricity production (between 72% and 74% from 2014 to 2017), according to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by power minister Piyush Goyal on August 10, 2017.

Adding non-fossil fuel capacity is only part of the solution; actual generation from renewables will need to increase as well if India is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Central Electricity Authority

(Alison is an assistant editor with IndiaSpend & Mukta is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

We welcome feedback. Please write to We reserve the right to edit responses for language and grammar.


“Liked this story? is a non-profit, and we depend on readers like you to drive our public-interest journalism efforts. Donate Rs 500; Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000.”