sustainable development and energy security





Sustainable Development in the words of Brundtland report   is "the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations

To meet their own needs ".

In this context nuclear energy as a future energy source has occupied centre stage of

India's concern. The characteristics of nuclear energy, it's economic, environmental

and social impact and its link to sustainable development have come under the scanner of economic and political debate in the recent times.

This paper entitled "Sustainable Development and Energy Security" attempts to explore the prospects of adopting nuclear energy as a future energy source to meet the India's

growing energy needs. Nuclear energy, though requires large capital investment in form of nuclear power plants, is seen as an alternative to fossil fuels. Use of nuclear energy not only meets the growing energy demands, but also minimizes the environment and social burdens.

Nuclear energy does not have environmental effects on global warming, green house effect, climate change and pollution. Hence the central goal of sustainable development i.e.maintainence and development of natural, human and social assets will have been met by use of nuclear energy.

This paper analyses the following aspects:

  1. Various forms and sources of energy.
  2. The role of energy in economic development.
  3. The problems of developing countries vis-à-vis energy security.
  4. Nuclear power and its importance in the light of power shortage in India in the context of sustainable development.
  5. Suggestions.
  6. Conclusions.

.        Keywords: sustainable development, energy security, nuclear energy,


1)      Introduction

India's energy resources are mostly available in convenient form. India has a

Significant reserves of coal, its electricity generation is also significant

Today more than 70% of power generation is through burning of coal.

We have 221 billion tones of coal reserves .India has a large hydro potential and only a part of this potential has been exploited .as per department of atomic energy  of India ,India as also good uranium deposits supporting growth of "Nuclear Energy". India is growing giant facing the critical challenge of meeting a rapidly increasing demand for energy .

India ranks 6th in the world in terms of energy demand and our economy is projected to grow  7% to 8% in next two decades .the international energy agency projects indias dependence on oil imports will be more at 91.6% by the year 2020  and India is relatively poor in the oil and gas resources . Even though there are several problems associated with energy in India from 1951 to 2005, it has produced coal 12 times greater then what was available in 1951 crude oil production increased 110 times.   And the electricity installed capacity had a growth by over 68 times.

India has to meet two big challenges for a sustainable development  .firstly it should meet the increasing demand for energy resources in the country .secondly it should avoid all environmental hazards and its should ensure an energy security by conservation of energy  so that the future generation can also meet their wants for energy resources with available stock .this can lead to long term economic development which indicates the "Sustainable Economic Development" on which our attention is much more needed.


The concept of sustainable development was elaborated in the late 1980.

The tern sustainable development was brought into common use by the world commission on Environment and Development in its seminar report called

"Our common Future".  Brundtland Commission defines sustainable development as "Development that needs the needs of the present generation without comprising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.

We can understand that use of the concept "Needs" in the definition is linked with the distribution of resources through three components of man made capitals, human capital and natural capital & it aims to achieve sustainable development through integration of three dimensions in a balanced way.

According to Professor Barthwal of ‘Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur' has highlighted some important indicators of sustainable development there are as follows:

1)      GDP growth rate.

2)      Population Stability.

3)      Human Resources Development Index.

4)      Clean Air index.

5)      Energy intensity.

6)      Renewable energy proportion.

7)      Material intensity.

8)      Water use.

9)      Soil degradation.

10)  Forest coverage.

11)  Re-cycling proportions.

12)  Transport intensity.

These indicators show the changing trends of an economy towards Sustainable Development.  Let us discuss this concept from the point of view

Of Energy Security and adopting Nuclear Energy as a future Energy Source which is the latest Debate in our country.


Energy has several forms which is useful to all human beings:

  1. Mechanical Energy:    Like kinetic and potential position against resistance.
  2. Heat Energy:   Can cause gases to expand, can melt the metals and convert water into steam.
  3. Radiant Energy:          Include light, radio, X-Rays, Laser etc.
  4. Electro-magnetic Energy:       Flow of electrons producing an electric current.
  5. Chemical Energy:        Stored in molecules of Food or in fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
  6. Nuclear Energy:          The force that combines the atomic nucleus together it is obtained through Fusion and Fission.

These energy are inter-convertible but it incurs a economical expenses which may not be profitable also Ex: Electrical Energy into light or heat Energy.

3)           SOURCES OF ENERGY

Energy Sources refers to the sources from which energy is obtained to provide heat, light and power.

  1. Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy sources:

Non-Renewable Energy sources are those which are lost in one operation the called depletable or exhaustible sources of energy their availability s always fixed and they are always at a declining stage Ex: Fossil fuel.

Renewable or In exhaustible energy sources are those which are perennial in nature they are regarded as flows rather than as stocks their total supply cannot be more than the available flow and the flow is perennial.

Ex: Hydro-electricity.

  1. Commercial and Non-Commercial Energy Sources:

Commercial Energy Sources we include all those sources which are supplied through formal and organized Industries and marketing channels.Ex: Coal, Petroleum, natural gas which do not result in production, distribution and consumption or strictly passed through exchange Ex: fire wood, agriculture straw and animal waste etc.

  1. Conventional and Non-conventional Energy Sources:

All those sources which the mankind is used to using are called Conventional Sources which those which are in their sources which those which are in their introductory stage or which can be used in future are called additional, alternative, or Non-Conventional Energy Sources.

Commercial sources of Energy play a vital role in developing country like India for Economic Growth and later in development.


Energy is the a vital resource for the economic development the production of commercial energy has increased steadily after introduction of economic planning and energy sector reforms in

"New Economic Policy" in 19191.from 1951 and 2005 coal

Production has increased by nearly 12 times, crude oil production by

110 times and electricity [installed capacity] by over 68 times.

Growth of Commercial Energy -1951 to 2004-2005.




Coal [in tones]




Oil crude [m.tonnes]




Electricity installed capacity [mw]




Generation [billion kwh]




Source: Economic survey 2005-06 .

Now let us see the consumption trends of commercial energy:

Consumption Trends of Commercial Energy.

Sectoral Trends In Commercial Energy Consumption




House hold sector
























Percentage Share of Different Fuels in Commercial Energy Consumption.








Oil and gas











Important points:

a)       The transport sector was the largest consumer of commercial energy but in later stages there is a fall in total energy consumption.

b)      The industrial sector has become largest consumer of commercial energy in the country.

c)      Agriculture sector has also increased the total consumption of commercial energy.

However according to Indian planners we require:

  1. I.      412 million tonnes of oil equivalent [mtoe]in the  year 2006-07

i.e.  the terminal year of the Tenth five year plan.

  1. II.      564mtoe in the year 2011-12 which is the terminal year of the Eleventh plan.

In India even though the production of commercial energy has increased but the population ,industrialization, urbanization has increased much more at a greater rate and its total consumption is more so India is facing energy crisis.

6)  Energy Crisis in India.

In Indias economic development energy crisis are in the form of oil

Shortage, coal shortage and power shortage.

a)      Indias energy problem arises due to imbalance in demand –supply of all commercial fuels with increase economic growth the consumption of energy is also increased at a rapid rate though ONGC [oil and natural gas commission] have implemented several policies of exploration and increase of indigenous crude the consumption petroleum and oil products has far exceeding the indigenous production and refining capacity therefore is energy crisis.

b)      The coal industry performance has been failing badly in recent years the coals reserves are poor , both in quality and in quantity

c)      The creation and distribution of electricity generation in India has a poor performance where it is not able to meet the growing demands of both industrial and agriculture sectors.

d)     The performance of government local boards in distribution of electricity is also very poor; there is theft, pilferage and wastage of use of electricity both in urban and rural areas.

e)      The production of energy through different technology is not perfect; much of the energy is lost during transferring those4 energy sources to ultimate use.

These features for energy crisis in India and slow economic development.

7)  Basic problem of Indian economy associated with energy:

a)      Increasing consumption of commercial energy.

b)      Domination of using non-commercial sources of energy [I.e. in the rural areas ]

c)      Unequal distribution of energy.

d)     Inefficient use and under utilization of energy.

e)      High dependence on foreign countries especially on Arabian countries.

8) Energy Security.

Indias long term aim of energy security will be primarily about ensuring

the continuous availabity of commercial energy at competitive prices to

support its economic growth and meet life line energy needs of its house

holds with safe, clean and convenient forms of energy even if it entails

directed subsidies.secodly reducing energy requirement and increasing

efficiency are two very important measure to increase energy security.

Energy security is concerned dealing with various risks I.e. supply

Risk, market risk, technical risk, etc

a)      Supply risk are those risks originated with the uncertainty of imported energy where India is mostly depended on foreign countries for oil imports

b)      Market risks those risks arising through fluctuations in price of energy even though the country has adequate energy resource.

c)      Technical risks can be the technical failures which may disrupt the supply of energy generations could fail, transmission lined may trip or oil pipelines may spring a leak.

Therefore Indian needs much attention and security towards these types of risks and ensures that wastages of energy through these risks does not hamper the growth of the economy and cause hazards to environment.

In India energy security is much needed from the house hold level.

House hold energy security : clean fuel for all ;we may set up goal to provide clean cooking energy such as LPG,NG,Bio gas or kerosene to all within 20 years and ensure they use these energy for right domestic use which gives a energy security .

Currently India consumes 0-16kg of oil equivalent [kgoe] per dollar of GDP expressed in terms of purchasing power parity.

India s energy intensity is lower than the 0.23 kgoe of china,0.22 kgoe of U.S and a world average of 0.21 kgoe .this comparison conforms that there is a room to improve and energy intensity can be brought down significantly in India we can fallow these aspects like ,

a)      Lowering energy intensity through higher efficiency is equivalent to creating a virtual source of untapped domestic energy and aggressive pursuit of energy efficiency and conversion ,it is possible to reduce indias energy intensity by up to 25% from current levels

b)      Efficiency should be increase in energy extraction, conversion, transportation, as well as in consumption.

c)      Ensuring proper labeling on the equipments if the equipment fails to deliver the stated efficiency proper financial penalties should be imposed.

d)     Established benchmarks of energy consumption for all energy intensive sectors.

e)      Promote minimum life cycle cost purchase instead of minimum initial cost procurement by the government and the public sector.

The failure of energy sector to meet the increasing intensity of demand is considerable falling to extent. this was due to the lack of importance given by our 5year plan because they did not give long term policy imperatives in energy planning .our 8th plan gave importance to long term integrated planning here the emphasis  was laid both on efficiency strategy of long run energy supply and energy end use  .

Our planning commission realized the following drawbacks of unplanned measures about energy security it mainly turned its attention towards; 1) gradual shift from non renewable energy sources to renewable one.2) the emphasis was laid on energy conservation and management of demand and efficient utilization of energy resources .3) distribution of energy needs high priority in meeting the basic energy needs of the rural and the urban poor in the immediate future.

According to Jyoti Parikh and Kirit Parikh," the critical problem today lies in increasing the efficiency of use of resources the inefficiency in the use of created capacities have undermined the financial viabilities of energy sector units public sector units seem to be unable to deal in a commercial manner with users with political clout reforms, therefore have to involve in situational arrangements."

9)   Strategies for Energy Security in Future:

The main problem of India is that we are much dependent on crude oil on foreign countries we should organize more research and development programmers so that we can explore our potential to meet our domestic energy demand

The government of India has come up with some strategies like:

  • Exploration in new areas like exploring in the deeper layers of the producing fields exploring in new areas of deep water and difficult frontier areas.
  • The newly discovered fields has to be properly developed by using modern new technology in producing areas
  • The methods and technologies must be upgraded for improving existing major fields.
  • Using alternatives sources of energy such as :
  1. Coal bed methane.
  2. Gas hydrates.
  3. Underground coal gasification.
  4. Shift to natural gas and NG.
  5. Ethanol made from sugar.
  6. Bio- diesel extracted from jetropha, karanja tree etc.

Even though policies are made and government has taken initiatives in strict

areas of energy conservation and management of oil demand and ensuring

proper measures to have energy security Indias demand from energy sector is

increasing at a rapid rate therefore the best choice adopted by all our Indian

Planners and government is to select an another energy sources which is clean

energy and operating cost should be moderate and Indian environmental hazards

such as ozone depletion, and green house effect, and acid rain faced by use of

fossil fuel are minimized the best outcome of this decision is the "Use of

Nuclear Energy" which can lead to long term economic development

This can contribute to sustainable economic development.

10)    Nuclear Power For India.

India progress  in recent years after the introduction of new economic policy is no doubt a progressive development for maintaining our current economic growth rate of 8% to10%per annum we should solve the problem of inadequacy of energy supply which is a major constraint on accelerating indias growth rate .

The 123rd agreement between India and united states of America had contributed some valuable hopes towards achieving the dual objectives of our nation .firstly to ensure the challenges of energy security .secondly to achieve the objectives of environmental sustainability. there fore India's nuclear programme was founded to address the challenge of energy security and attain self reliance and technological independence.

11)   Nuclear Energy is also Clean Energy.

In India there is high dependence on use of fossil fuel and the rich use of

Fossil fuel have definitely contributed to environmental hazards .most of the

scientists agree that pollution is contributing to global warming and to

climatic change to minimize these burdens our environment requires a

clean and green energy like "Nuclear Energy".

In India even producing electricity involves huge wastages and

Environmental hazards .Nuclear energy is best energy that has taken the full

Responsibility of disposal of all its wastages and meeting its full cost of

Doing so .Nuclear energy does not contribute to global warming the cost

Of the fuel for a nuclear power station is very economical compared to

an equilivalent coal fired power station .the electricity generated from

nuclear reactors is competitive with electricity produced from coal, even

after providing for management and disposal of radio active wastages and

the decommissioning of reactors so, Nuclear energy will be a clean and an

affordable source of energy.

12) Scope for Nuclear Energy in India.

In India at present only 3% of India's energy needs are met from nuclear sources

India plans to produce 20,000 mwe from the nuclear sector by 2020 increasing from the very low level of 3700 mwe at present.

The increased share of nuclear power in the Indian energy mix will diminish the reliance on fossil fuel and reduce carbon emissions from India.

13) Growth and Performance of nuclear Plants in India.

The tarapur plants, unit one and unit two and Rajasthan atomic power plant are

The major power plants in India let us see the trends in the growth rate of

Nuclear power generations capacity.

Various aspects of nuclear power scenario in India ,



Annual growth rate.




Co efficient (kwh per mw)






1971 -72





1972- 73





1979- 80





1980- 81





Source, Ministry of energy government of India .1980.

14) Role of Nuclear power.

Nuclear power has definitely contributed to increase in electricity and

It is likely to increase more the plans to meet the increasing production

of energy was attempted in two ways: firstly the department of atomic

energy gave importance to use of domestic uranium resources in

pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs).secondly on an imported

technology light water reactors was setup at kundankulam in Tamil

nadu for this purpose .to exploit the vast thorium reserves in the country

Bhaba Atomic Research centre developed a 300 Mve advanced heavy

Water reactor for this purpose .therefore nuclear power has good

Technology in India with very significant potential for avoiding the

Burning of large quantity of poor quality coal .the uranium and

thorium resources are more in the country and use of fast breeder reactors

thorium reactors which can tap the full energy potential in nuclear energy

materials through the use of recycle technologies has contributed towards

creation of extra energy for increased economic growth.

15) Safety of Nuclear power.

India today, It has been operating with 200 Nuclear reactors with a

Record of safety in its environment. The Atomic energy regulatory board

In India as per the directions of International Energy Agency works on

Established line of standard so safety is maximized with extra care

Unless there is failure in transferring nuclear power plants and

problems of radioactive causes of nuclear power plants –Nuclear

energy is very safe to use in any economy.

16) The Economics of Nuclear Power.

The unit energy cost of nuclear power compared to power from coal

At locations away from coal pits are economical high capacity factors,

low discount rates and reduced capital costs are factors, which make

nuclear power more attractive and conditions in India for improvement of

nuclear power in good, with its low variables nuclear power improves

its relative economics with year of operation of the power plant.

17) Suggestions:

  1. To be always dependent on foreign countries for crude oil is not secured

Economic activity .we should create our own opportunities to meet the

Domestic demand.

  1. There must be an gradual shift from the use of non renewable sources

of energy.

  1. The Research and Development programme must be conducted for exploiting the potentials of non – conventional sources of energy ,
  2. Exploration is must in areas of estimated energy availability.
  3. The technology used in creation ,generation and transferring of

Energy should be upgraded.

  1. Economic planners should give long term planning in energy supply sources to meet basic demands of economy etc.

18) Concluding Remarks:

India's fuel resources position definitely invites development and

deployment of nuclear power programme .nuclear energy will definitely

Contribute to the long term success of sustainable development

the technology to harness nuclear power are still under the

modernization stage in India, effective government support is definitely

needed in terms of increasing the efficiency though our power sector

makes an considerable growth, our rapid industrialization and improved

agriculture and quick changes in population is more than the energy

generations hence consumption is more than supply and production.

this should not be a continuing increasing trend in future the steps and

measures to control this situation will definitely contribute to the long

term economic development of India which is nothing but

"Sustainable Development".


Pradeep Raj .S

MBA Student

Bangalore, India


  1. i.            Raj kumar sen and mrinal kumar dasgupta

-          Major sources of energy.

  1. ii.            Energy and Economic Development –edited by V.S Mahajan.
  2. iii.            Karpagam –Environmental Economics
  3. iv.            Indian Economy – 54th edition by Ruddar dutt and KPM .Sundarram.
  4. v.            Energy and Economic Development –Jayanth vianayak vaishampayan.-ajantha publishers.
  5. vi.            Indian Economy –Misra and Puri latest edition.
  6. vii.            The Economics of Nuclear Power – Research papers 2007 –Stephen Thomas and peter Bradford.
  7. viii.            Nuclear power in India – an evitable option for sustainable development of a sixth of humanity – by Dr .Anil kakodkar.
  8. ix.            India's energy security –Journal by "Institute for the analysis of global security on jan21th, 2004.

Source by Pradeep Raj.S


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