By 2030 around 60 million Indians could still be without power as the nation's electrification drive lags its economic development, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.
In its latest World Energy Outlook, the IEA said India needed to invest $1.25 trillion in energy infrastructure by 2030 and that more than three quarters of this investment should be in power infrastructure.
"Attracting investment in a timely manner will be essential if economic growth is to be sustained," the IEA said.
To date some 412 million people have no access to electricity in India.
By 2030, that should fall to nearly 60 million as the electrification rate rises to 96 per cent from 62 per cent in 2005, according to the IEA's reference scenario, or most likely energy forecast.
Only in its high growth scenario would all households have access to electricity.
According to its reference scenario, total electricity generation in India reached 699 terawatt hours in 2005 and rises to 2,774 terawatt hours in 2030.
Per capita electricity generation at 639 kilowatt hours in 2005 was more than four times lower than the world average and comparable with that of Vietnam and Mozambique.
Coal, which produces high volumes of carbon emissions, is the dominant fuel in India's electricity generation, accounting for more than two thirds of total electricity produced and heavy dependence is forecast to continue.
To make matters worse, India's coal-fired plants are among the least efficient in the world, although efficiency rates are expected to improve and India has joined international efforts to speed up the development of carbon capture and storage technologies.
It is also seeking to develop nuclear generation, which does not result in any carbon emissions, and has an ambitious target of raising nuclear generation capacity to 20 gigawatts by 2020 and 40 gigawatts by 2030. Earlier targets for nuclear generation have not been met.