This research was sponsored by the
Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, U. S. Department of Energy,
under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725,
with UT-Battelle, LLC.
Joint Institute for Energy and Environment
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World population is still increasing, driving a demand for more energy and, in the developing countries, for more energy per capita to raise the standard of living. India is a clear example of this situation, with a population projected to rise from one billion today to 1.6 billion in 2050 and to 1.8 billion in 2100. Studies suggest that if energy is used efficiently, a decent standard of living in a temperate climate could be achieved with about one tonne of oil equivalent (toe) of energy per capita per year. For this level to be met, India’s energy consumption would have to rise from the present 500 Mtoe/a to about 1,800 Mtoe/a in 2100. If energy efficiency gains are low then much more energy would be needed to achieve a decent standard of living.
In this paper an analysis is made of the potential contribution of indigenous energy sources (fossil and renewables , excluding solar energy) to meeting this need. It is shown that, with the present understanding of indigenous resources, even with an average efficiency improvement of 2.5 by 2100, and 20% energy imports, there could be a gap developing between demand and supply in the latter half of this century. Present options available to fill the gap are increased energy imports, fission, and solar energies. Fusion energy is discussed as a potential complementary energy source to meet India’s needs. It has potential advantages with regard to environmental impact and the ready availability of fuel. This possibility raises interesting questions about how India might best work in the international fusion R&D program to position itself for the deployment of fusion energy.