The following points highlight the three main sources of electric power. The sources are: 1. Thermal Power and RES (Renewable Energy Sources) 2. Hydel Power 3. Nuclear Power.
Electric Power: Source # 1.
Thermal Power and RES (Renewable Energy Sources):
Thermal power and RES is the major source of electricity which is generated out of Coal, Oil and Natural Gas and also include renewable energy sources like small hydro projects, wind power, biomass power, biomass gasifier, solar power, urban and industrial waste etc.
In India, the total installed capacity of Thermal Power and RES had increased from 1,150 MW in 1950-51 to 2,09,400 MW in 2014-2015, which contributed all along about 63 to 82 per cent of the total installed capacity during this period. At present Thermal Power is mostly generated through the use of Coal and as such the Fuel Policy Committee also recommended to use Coal based Thermal Technology in place of oil.
Electric Power: Source # 2.
Hydro-electric Power is the cheapest among all the three sources and it has no pollution agent. Hydro- electricity is a renewable source of energy. The installed capacity of Hydro-electric had increased from 600 MW in 1950-51 to 40,800 MW in 2014-2015, although in relative terms, it had recorded a decline from 33 per cent of total installed capacity to 16.0 per cent.
Considering the huge Hydro-power potential and its lower unit cost, the Power Economy Committee (1991) observed, “under the existing conditions in the country, the Hydel schemes constitute the most economic source of power generation”.
In-spite of all these comparative advantages, the country could utilise hardly 20 per cent of the total Hydro-power potential of the country. Thus a huge Hydel potential still largely remains underutilized. Only 17 per cent of the enormous hydel potential of country (1,50,000 MW) has as yet been tapped.
Electric Power: Source # 3.
Nuclear power is the next most up-to-date source of power whose generation has started mostly from 1970-71. Total installed capacity of Nuclear power in the country had increased slowly from 420 MW in 1970-71 to 4800 MW in 2014-15 which accounted only for 2.00 per cent of the total installed capacity of electricity.