Energy Consumption In India’s Household Sector: Social And
Question. Evaluate the households energy use pattern in India.
Answer: In India around half of the total non-commercial energy consumption
is accounted for by the household sector (GoI, 1979, CMIE, 2001). The
non-commercial energy sources include fuel wood, crop-residues, cow-dung and
charcoal, among which fuel-wood is the most popular and predominantly used in
the consumption of household energy. Even today with the advancement of science
and technology, more than 60 per cent of Indian households depend on the
traditional sources of energy for meeting their energy needs. In spite of the
various Government efforts towards promoting cleaner fuels, the approach has not
been very successful in bringing changes in the type of energy used,
specifically for the lower income groups. In the recent past there has been a
change in approaches.
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One of the notable changes is the deregulation in the petroleum sector which
has encouraged the entry of private sector into the market and thus improved the
availability of LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) and kerosene. However, the market is
not fully liberalized. The factors like lack of mobility of commercial fuels,
high cost of connection and refill, high transaction cost, and the availability
of cheaper alternative fuels in the form of fire-wood and other biomass fuels
appear as obstacles to quick diffusion of these fuels in the domestic sector of
India. So far as pattern of household energy is concerned, it represents not
only the status of welfare but also the stage of economic development. As the
economy develops cleaner fuel is consumed. Consumption of household energy is
expected to increase in future along with economic growth and rise in per capita
incomes. Household energy consumption is also expected to vary significantly
between rural and urban areas. As such, this paper aims at analyzing the energy
use pattern as well as to analyse the factors that determine changes in energy
use in the household sector of India. The specific research questions to be
dealt in the study are as follows:
(i) what is the type of household energy consumption?
(ii) What type of dichotomy exists in household energy consumption?
(iii) What is the nature of fuel selection?
Table: Type of Energy Consumption
by Indian Households (1950–2000)
|Type of Fuels
||Growth Rate Per Annum (%)
Table-1 shows a decline in the share of non-commercial fuels. In 1950, the
share of non - commercial fuel was accounting for 98 per cent of the total
energy consumption and it declined to about 81 per cent in 2000. The data shows
an increasing trend in the share of LPG and electricity from 0.06 per cent in
1950 to 10.34 per cent in 2000. The decreasing share of noncommercial fuels can
be attributed to the growing demand for clean energy like LPG and electricity.
Major factors contributing to these substitutions are, increasing level of
urbanization, economic development and living standard (Reddy, 2003). Probably,
this is the cause of lower
growth rate of fuel-wood (3.7 percent per annum)
Question. Write a short notes on the linkages of income and energy use.
Answer: The household’s income influences
the pattern of energy consumption in many ways. For example it results in the
increasing use of energy, shifting to clean and convenient form of energy, such
as LPG, etc. As such, it is informative to analyse variations by household
income while analysing the linkages between economic affluence and household
energy use. However, as the Indian household survey data does not collect any
information on income, total household expenditures are used as a proxy. We find
that energy choices and consumption levels vary significantly by affluence level
across rural and urban households. Among rural households,
the quantity of biomass energy consumed decreases with rising affluence. Use of
LPG and Kerosene is found to be more among the higher expenditure deciles in
rural areas. However, energy substitution (transition tomodern energy type)
ismore striking with increase in household expenditure levels among urban
households. In urban Indian households, the quantity of biomass energy consumed
decreases with rising affluence. Its share decreases from over 72.8 per cent
among the poorest to less than 2 per cent for the richest deciles. However, the
quantity of kerosene at first rises for the lower deciles, but then decreases
for higher deciles, suggesting that
these are used as transitional fuels. LPG and electricity consumption increase
consistently across all urban deciles.
A clear transition is evident from Figure-5 with those in the top deciles
clearly shifting away from biomass towards more electricity and LPG use.
The study reveals that non-commercial fuels constitute more than half of the
total energy use in India’s household sector. It is also observed that in the
rural sector dependence of households on bio-fuels has been observed to be
falling marginally, whereas the use of LPG and Kerosene by the rural households
is on the rise. In the urban sector, more and more households are observed to
switch over to energy sources like LPG. These are the low and middle income
groups’ people that use bio-fuels mostly. As such the study recommends the
following policy measures.
- In the rural areas people are reluctant to pay for commercial fuels as
the fuel-wood can be gathered free at cost. As a result, the Government
policies of subsidizing commercial fuels sufficiently so as to make it
attractive will hardly yield good result. Instead forest policies might seek
to induce substitution of forest fuel-wood. Such policy could aim at
promoting agro-forestry and tree growing in private land. Policy
intervention to this end include the provision of subsidized seedling,
selection of fuel-wood generated tree species, monetary incentive for
planting and maintaining trees, sharing knowledge and information with the
villagers, creating awareness etc.
- The dependency of rural households on fuel-wood can be reduced by
popularizing scientific Chullhas. Improved wood stoves not only raise energy
efficiency, typically by 30-50 per cent but also reduce indoor pollution by
a factor of 20 to 100, to levels well within WHO guidelines. However, this
type of techniques should be adopted with special care. For example, the
households often find difficulties with this type of stove because certain
foods cannot be cooked on it. Thus, it implies that the technology
dissemination programes need to pay careful attention to local food and
cooking habits. Hence, it is suggested that stepsmay be taken to renovate
the scientific Chullhas tomeet the local needs and popularize it among the
rural households in order to save energy.
- The provision of stand-alone isolated small generation facilities (50
KWto 4 MW) allowing for limited distribution in the habitation areas, would
perhaps be more useful for capacity addition, economy and to contain huge
transmission and distribution losses. Thus, microhydel power stations are
ideally suited to areas where power demand is relatively low and population
is scattered. Thus, the State Governments are required to develop a suitable
management for the villages and blocks to maintain the plant after setting
up the project. Once the villagers particularly in high altitude areas get
used to electricity it will go a long way in preventing indiscriminate
felling of tree.
- Considering the topography of the sate, itmay beworthwhile to explore
other decentralized options tomeet the energy requirement . This becomesmore
important taking into account that large hydro projects generally have a
large gestation period and involve large investment. Solar energy has the
potential for meeting energy requirement related to lighting, heating,
cooking, etc. Though intermittent in nature this system could be installed
in varying capacities depending upon the requirement and potential of the
region. Hence towards a sustainable energy policy, the alternative options
as suggested above may be implemented seriously by the Government.