West Bengal Energy Situation

From energypedia

Status of the Power Sector

West Bengal, is an Indian state that lies in the eastern part of Indiain the Gangatic plains. It is the third largest economy in India. Being itself a center of agriculture and huge reserves of minerals, it constitutes one tenth of the Indian market.

West Bengal also has a prosperous hinterland of some mineral rich stateslike Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa. Asansol is a coal mining area and Durgapur is a hub of power plants and the state is proximal to many other coal reserves as well. Government of West Bengal has initiated power sector reforms in 2005 with the restructuring of West Bengal State Electricity Board into a distribution company and a transmission company in 2007. West Bengal shows certain promising signs for better energy situation in the state beacuse of its financially viable power sector, energy surplus situation and its easy accessiblity. However, there are certain shortcomings like despite its almost 100% village electrification, the state's 42% rural households are still without electricity. Aquiring land for power projects is another problem that the state is facing.[1]

Given this backdrop, the state has an opportunity in the form of renewable energy, which can utilize the natural and geographic conditions to the fullest while not being much affected by the pitfalls that the state faces at this moment and can improve ist energy situation.

Energy Capacity

Installed Capacity of West Bengal Power Utility (megawatts)[2]:

Total Installed Capacity










  • RES: Renewable Energy Souces (include: small hydro, biogas, biomass, waste and wind energy)

Significant efficiency gains have been made by the state distribution utility in last few years and distribution loss has been reduced from 34.4%in FY 2004 to 22.8% in FY 2009. Additional 2,470 MW generation capacity has been added in State Sector at the end of FY 09. The additional capacity has helped the sector in meeting the increased demand for electricity in West Bengal and also trade surplus energy. The other Central and Power sector entities like Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and CESC have also been making generation investments.

The government of West Bengal has come up with an innovative concept of Power Banks where in the excess generated power is being accumulated for future use.[3]

Energy Consumption

The State level Perspective Power Planning Committee (2006) has projected the aggregate demand for electricity to be between 66,368 and 71,351MU by FY 2021. Per capita consumption of electricity in the year 2009-10 was 492 kWH in West Bengal[4]

Energy Supply

The peak demand in West Bengal is projected to be between 8,937 and 10,871 MW in 2021 increasing to about 14,730 MW by 2031. In FY 2008, the state faced a shortfall in meeting energy demand (1188 MU) and also experienced peak-load deficits to the tune of 296 MW.[5]

Rural Electrification

As per the census 2001, 99.5% of villages in the state of West Bengal is electrified. The state has achieved nearly 100% electrification in 2009 from the level of 40% in the year 2004. There has been significant increase in household electrification as well from 20% in FY 2004 to 40% in FY 2009.[6]

Status of Renewable Energy

As of December 2011, West Bengal had 9220.19 MW of thermal power, 315.88 MW of hydro power, 92.88 MW of nuclear power and 262.71 MW of power from renewable energy sources. The State Government is encouraging setting up of renewable energy-based power plants. The State Nodal Agency has many feathers in its cap in terms of the promotion and development of renewable energy technologies in the state. It is equally promoting solar, biomass and wind energy based energy generation technologies in its districts. Examples like Electrification of Sundarbans through non- conventional energy sources and Sagar Island Wind- Diesel Hybrid System can be quoted here.

'Renewable Power Potential and Achievement in West Bengal'[7]:

Energy Source


Cumulative Achievment

Wind (w/o Offshore)






Small Hydro



Solar Photovoltaic



Solar Thermal


Solar Rooftop


Urban and Industrial Waste



All Sources



Constrains and Opportunities

The constrains and opportunities for the state can be summarised as below:

  • Poor Household Electrification: Even with 99.5% village electrification in the state, there is only 42% rural household electrification indicating significant rise in energy demand in the future and hence need for increasing the generating capacity and strengthening the transmission and distribution network. The number of consumers would increase in future and distribution utility would have to take care of this.
  • Land acquisition issues: Land acquisition has become a significant issue in the state owing to the limited availability of land for non- agricultural use due to the agriculture based economy with net sown area being 61% of total area under utilization in West Bengal. Land acquisitions for setting up power plants as well as for getting RoW for transmission lines is becoming increasingly difficult.
  • Need for private participation: Private involvements in the power sector is a great necessity and Public Private Partnerships needs to be encouraged in the state to instill competition among players and improve efficiency to provide power at affordable rates. Enabling policies and procedures need to be set by the government to attract more private investments in the sector.
  • Renewable sources of energy: State Government has taken proactive step in formation of West Bengal Green Energy Corporation Limited (WBGECL) to attract investment into renewable sector.
  • Improving generation performance: The additional capacity added in the State Sector mainly by West Bengal Power Development Corporation has helped the state in meeting the increased demand and sell surplus energy outside the state. However, the delay in commissioning of the projects and low PLF has resulted in lower than expected generation
    leading to occasional power deficit. The lower generation by some of the plants in the state also has been due to erratic coal supplies. The improvement in generation performance would be critical to financial sustainability of the sector in West Bengal.[8]

Policy, Framework, Laws & Regulations

State Action Plan on Climate Change:Besides other suggestions, it advocates the use of renewable energy for minimizing the impacts of climate change.

Institutions Involved

  • West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA): has a mandate to promote Renewable Energy technologies and create an environment conducive to their commercialisation through innovative projects.
  • West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL): is a commercial entity distributing power in West Bengal.
  • West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Limited (WBSETCL): is a transmission company. Both WBSEDCL and WBSETCL have been formed after the disintegration of West Bengal State Electricity Board (WBSEB) in 2007.
  • West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation Limited (WBGEDCL): promotes different grid connected renewable energy based power projects through private sector and also ensures investment of private sector in Renewable Energy system manufacturing.
  • West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission: It regulates the power development and supply arrangements, fixes tariffs and directs the generation, transmission and distribution utilities on the annual plans and quantum of power flows within their grid systems.

Further Information


  1. "Profile and Challanges- North Eastern and Eastern States of India"- Pricewater House Coopers,3rd North East & East Power Summit 2010, Indian Chamber of Commerce, 2010 http://www.pwc.com/in/en/assets/pdfs/Publications-2010/Energy_and_Utilities_9_Feb.pdf
  2. Ministry of Power as of 31st December 2011
  3. http://wbpower.nic.in/initiatives.htm
  4. Draft Annual Plan, Development & Planning DepartmentfckLRGovernment of West Bengal 2011-12
  5. The State level Perspective Power Planning Committee (2006)
  6. CEA
  7. Draft Renewable Energy Policy- West Bengal (PWC- 2010) and WBREDA 2010
  8. "Profile and Challanges- North Eastern and Eastern States of India"- Pricewater House Coopers,3rd North East & East Power Summit 2010, Indian Chamber of Commerce, 2010