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Electricity Generation and Environmental Pollution by Thermal Units in India

S. Ganesan, D. Bose, G. Ashok Kumar


In India, electricity is generated mainly in three ways namely hydro, thermal and nuclear. Electricity generation through hydro is mainly depends upon the natural factor i.e., rainfall. Now – a – days due to environmental pollution and climatic change, we are not getting adequate amount of rainfall and also in time. This will cause low production of hydro electricity. Taken into account of Indian scenario during 1950 – 1951, the total electricity generation was 5.1 BKWH, out of this 2.5 BKWH (49.02 per cent) from hydro power plants. In 2000 – 2001, the percentage share of hydro power in the total electricity generation has come down to 14.91 per cent. During 2009 – 2010, it has further declined to 13.40 per cent.

Regarding nuclear power up to 1960 – 1961, no contribution was made in the total electricity generation. In 2000 – 2001, the contribution of nuclear power to total electricity generation was only 3.38 per cent. It has come down to 2.34 per cent during 2009 – 2010. It is because of lack of capital investment, lack of technology and fear in the minds of the people.

After analyzing the statistical information about hydro and nuclear power, one can easily understand the contribution of thermal power to total electricity generation. During 1950 – 1951, the share of thermal power in the total electricity generation was 50.98 per cent. It has increased to 81.70 per cent during 2000 -2001. The contribution made by the thermal power is about 84.26 per cent in 2009 – 2010. Excessive generation of electricity by thermal power needs more amount of coal and burning more amount of coal emit huge amount of and other green house gases which leads to environmental damages, climate change and global warming.

This paper analyses the total electricity generation by thermal units, total coal consumption and its impact on the environment and suggestions to avoid environmental pollution.


Electricity Generation, Environmental Pollution, Coal Consumption, Emission

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