Estimating residential energy demand is critical to enable informed planning of energy supply, particularly in a growing and aspirational country such as India. This paper presents the results and insights emerging from an estimation of residential energy demand up to 2040-41 using version 1.5 of PIER, an open-data demand-oriented energy systems model. The model estimates demand in a bottom-up manner for five energy services, namely lighting, cooking, space cooling, refrigeration and television viewing. These energy services account for over 80% of electricity consumed in households. Demand is estimated in a disaggregated manner for each state and urban-rural geography, based on projections of the key drivers of demand such as the number of households owning and using specific appliances, the amount of energy service demanded and the energy efficiency of the appliance. Five scenarios are developed based on varying these critical parameters to estimate the range of possible residential energy demand. The following insights emerge from the exercise:

  • Residential electricity demand is unlikely to increase by more than 4% per annum under any modelled scenario despite significantly increased ownership and usage of appliances.
  • Energy efficiency is the most critical driver of demand, and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency can play a critical role in moderating energy demand growth while enabling greater ownership and use of appliances.
  • Residential electricity demand shape is likely to get much 'peakier' than it is currently. This calls for responses such as strengthening of the distribution network and innovative power procurement planning to meet such peak loads at optimal cost.
  • Consumer behaviour regarding usage of appliances is a possibly greater determinant of electricity demand than ownership of appliances.
  • While India makes significant progress in usage of modern cooking fuels, about 27 million households spread across rural areas of seven states are likely to continue to use solid fuels even in 2040-41.