Rising India’s power plant installed capacity?

According to Bloomberg article India has been a major consumer of energy since 1980 after USA and China. As the article rightly states the following:

But unlike China, India has not invested as much in renewable energy as it’s developed. While a greater share of India’s total energy consumption came from non-fossil fuel sources in 1980 than its larger neighbor did, that share has actually dropped since 1980. Meanwhile, China’s share coming from nuclear and renewable has nearly quadrupled.


So i actually wanted to see the data first hand. Well as i have criticized in the past India has digitized all its data but its not very easy to locate and extract data, but this post is not about that. My search for energy consumption landed me to the website of Ministry of Power. The website publishes annual, monthly and daily data which is amazing but there are some years when the data is missing and in certain cases the data is stored as PDF and not a csv file.

The annual report of 2018 was used by to extract the data for Installed capacity. The report does not define what installed capacity means but a quick google will help you understand. Its not the actual production of energy but the maximum capacity a particular site is capable of producing based on certain assumptions. Its not an ideal data but i would argue that if you increased installed capacity would mean the country is using that source to generate more energy. This also coincides with the article in Bloomberg.

The report highlights four major sources used to generate power –

  1. Thermal
  2. Nuclear
  3. Hydro
  4. Renewable Energy Source (RES) – Includes wind, small hydro project, biomass gasifier, Biomass Power, Urban and Industrial Waste Power & solar power.
Plot showing Installed Capacity of various types of power plants in India.
Installed Capacity of various types of power plants in India

Installed capacity of Thermal Power plants has increased since 2010. This is not an ideal situation for India given Thermal power is generated through the use of Coal and is not environment friendly. As rightly pointed out in Bloomberg article. The Installed Capacity of Hydro or Nuclear power plant has not increased in capacity and much of it has stayed stagnant over years. The only light of hope we see is the slow but steady growth in RES.

Many countries , including China, are taking steps to reduce dependence on Coal. India should follow the same and start relying on RES rather than Thermal. Government subsidy in Solar has lead to an increase in use of solar panels. Given that India has a long summer and winter months are sunny it would be a step in right direction. Reducing the pollution by decreasing the dependency on Thermal power would improve the air quality and environment.

The code used to generate the line plot in R is shown below. The visual is generated in 4 steps – load necessary packages, import data, transform data and create the plot. The ggplot2 package was used to generate the visual and data file used is here.

# Load the necessary Libraries
# location of the main directory
loc <- here()

#load the data
data <- read_csv(here("personal","power","ic.csv"))

# change the data from wide to long for use in ggplot2
data_long <- melt(data,
                  # ID variables - all the variables to keep but not split apart on
                  # The source columns
                  measure.vars=c("Thermal", "Nuclear", "Hydro", "Res", "Total"),
                  # Name of the destination column that will identify the original
                  # column that the measurement came from
# generate the plot
ggplot(filter(data_long, type!="Total"), aes(x =Year,y= capacity, color =type, label = type))+
     geom_line(lwd = 1.25)+
     geom_point(data= filter(data_long, type %in% c("Thermal", "Nuclear", "Hydro", "Res") & Year == max(Year)), size=3,shape=21,fill ="grey",show.legend = FALSE)+
     geom_text(data= filter(data_long, type %in% c("Thermal", "Nuclear", "Hydro", "Res") & Year == max(Year)) , size=4, nudge_x = 1.75, fontface="bold",show.legend = FALSE)+
     scale_x_continuous(breaks = c(1990,1995,2000,2005,2010,2015,2018))+
     labs(title="Installed Capacity of various types of Power Plants",
          subtitle = "in Mega Watts (MW)",
          caption = "Source : Ministry of Power")+
     theme(panel.grid.major = element_blank(),
          panel.grid.minor = element_blank(),
          panel.border = element_blank(),

The animated version shows the expansion in Thermal capacity right after 2010. The expansion of other sources are not as rapid as the rise in Thermal capacity.

A plot showing animation of Installed Capacity.
Animated version of Installed Capacity

Code used for the animated plot in R:

power <- ggplot(filter(data_long, type!="Total"), aes(x =Year, y= capacity, color =type))+
    geom_line(lwd = 1.5)+
    geom_point(data=filter(data_long, type %in% c("Thermal","Nuclear","Hydro","Res") & Year == max(Year)), size = 3, shape = 21, fill = "grey", show.legend = FALSE)+
    geom_text(data=filter(data_long, type %in% c("Thermal","Nuclear","Hydro","Res") & Year == max(Year)), nudge_x = 1, aes(label = type), show.legend = FALSE)+
    scale_x_continuous(breaks = c(1990,1995,2000,2005,2010,2015,2018))+
    labs(title="Installed Capacity of various types of Power Plants",
         subtitle = "in Mega Watts (MW)",
         caption = "Source : Ministry of Power",
         color = "Source")+
    theme(panel.grid.major = element_blank(),
          panel.grid.minor = element_blank(),
          panel.border = element_blank(),
          axis.line = element_line(color = 'black'))+
animate(power, fps = 20, end_pause=25, duration = 15)
anim_save(file="//<your path here>//pwr.gif", 
          animation = last_animation())

I would be happy to listen to your thoughts on anything you think i may have misrepresented or could have done better. I do feel India has a responsibility toward providing cleaner air to its people and i do not see it happening based on the data provided.

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