Not to downplay the challenges -- and opportunities -- we are facing here in the U.S., or that many are facing in less developing countries around the world, here are a few thought-provoking points from a recent survey of India published in The Economist magazine. I have not independently verified but have little reason to question them:
Discussing the Indian government's enormous subsidies for fertilizer, gasoline and kerosene, which are intended to keep prices low for consumers: "the more ruinous kerosene subsidy is likely to remain as long as most poor Indians have no access to electricity."
How many is "most"? Six hundred million Indians have no access to "mains electricity", that is, the grid.
Even then, in 2007, "peak demand [for electricity] outstripped supply by almost 15%."
When power is cut-off India's powerful computer services firms "switch on their generators, but factories shut down."
The World Bank estimates "9 percent of potential industrial output in India is lost to power cuts."
"Thirty-five percent" of the power that is generated "is stolen."
You can access the whole survey on the world's largest democracy here.
01-05-2009 3:01 PM