Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Almost 700 Million People Without Electricity in India

It's almost impossible to get your arms around the sheer size and scope of the blackout that's struck India over the past two days. Estimates say that about 670 million people are without electricity. As the New York Times noted, that's roughly equivalent to the entire population of Europe or more than the population of North and Central America combined.

By way of comparison, the largest blackout that ever struck North America, the 2003 outage that hit the Northeastern U.S. and parts of Canada, deprived about 50 million people of electricity for about two days. As we've seen in the past, power outages in advanced economies can lead to economic disruption and loss of life -- something that should give all of us pause when considering the magnitude of this event.

I'll close with some words from NEI's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Alex Flint:
The earth has 7 billion people on it. Today, 2 billion of those people’s principal source of energy is burning firewood or dung. More than 1 billion people have no access to electricity, and non-OECD electricity growth will far surpass that of OECD countries for several generations.

As we see population growth in those countries, we will see tremendous demand for electricity and energy of all sorts. It’s a moral imperative. There is a correlation between life expectancy and access to electricity.
India, pre- and post-blackout, as seen from Russia's Roskosmos satellite.


Robert Hargraves said...

Remember that 30% of India's people never have electric power.

All India commerce and industry relies on backup generators fueled with petroleum fuels -- expensive and polluting.

India needs energy cheaper than coal, to solve pollution and economic problems. Please visit
http://www.thoriumenergycheaperthancoal.com to see my new book, THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal.

Vivere Pericoloso said...

The hoopla about the rise of the middle class population in India is worthless, if the country do not invest wisely in its basic infrastructure. Luckily for India, because New Delhi must start from scratch, it has a chance to design and implement an efficient electrical grid.