Electricity is the most convenient and versatile form of energy. When, coal, petroleum and natural gas are used for generating electricity, it is called thermal energy.
Power generated from running water, is known as water power or hydel power or hydro-electricity. Yet another way of generating electricity is through nuclear fission from atomic minerals. This energy is termed as nuclear power. It is also a thermal energy but from a different source and needs highly developed technology.
In 1947 the per capita availability of electrical energy in India was as low as 2.4 KWh. By 1995-96 the per capita consumption of domestic power was 53 KWh. Despite vast improvement, this is very low compared to many other countries of the world. India is a country of about 600,000 villages.
In 1947, hardly 300 villages had electricity. Now it has reached to more than 5 lakh villages. This became possible because we have increased production of electricity by about 85 times between 1947 to 2005. The installed power generation capacity in the country has increased from 1,400 MW in 1947 to 1,18,419.09 MW as on 31 March, 2005. This comprises of 80,902.45 MW thermal, 30,935.63 MW hydro 38,11.01 MW wind and 2770 MW nuclear.
The total energy produced in 1950-51 was 6.6 billion KWh. By 1995-96 this figure rose to 415 billion KWh. Out of this over-all figure, the breakup for 380 billion KWh is available as the remaining amount of 35 billion KWh stands under the head of non-utilities.
The production of hydroelectricity in 1950-51 was 2.5 billion KWh. It rose to 72.5 billion KWh in 45 years i.e. by 1995-96. The production of thermal power was not much different from that of hydel power in 1950-51, when it was 2.6 billion KWh. This is more than four times the share of hydroelectricity. The share of nuclear energy is almost insignificant in the overall production of electricity.