In thermal power, the major sources of energy are coal, diesel and natural gas that are used for generation of electricity.
It is the largest source of power supply in the country.
The installed capacity of thermal power stations is about three times the installed capacity of the hydel power.
During 2004-05 share of thermal power was about 80,903MW out of 1,18,419MW of electricity produced in the country.
This is approximately 68% of the total electricity produced in India.
Share of thermal electricity increased very rapidly after creation of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in the year 1975.
During the 2004-05, NTPC produced 24,435 MW which is about 30% of the all India thermal production during the same period.
Coal based thermal power units-have been set up near the coal mines to avoid transport costs.
Transmission of power over long distances is relatively cheaper despite some loss of energy in transit.
Super Thermal Power plants have been established mainly very close to big coal mines.
In Tamil Nadu there is a big thermal power plant at Neyveli which is fed by local lignite coal field.
Diesel and natural gas based thermal power plants are found to be more efficient than coal based plants.
The oil and gas pipes have to be laid for continuous supply of petroleum and natural gas for such power plants.
As India is poor in its mineral oil and proven gas resources, it has to import these raw materials including naptha etc. from Middle East countries.
The new Dabhol Thermal Power plant of Maharashtra on the Konkan coast is based on such imported raw material.
Petroleum based power units have been set up in the remote areas of North East and Himalaya region.
Thermal power dominated region
It included states such as West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.
Majority of these states have reserves of coal which are utilised for power generation.
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab do not have coal reserves but have direct acces to coal fields by railway lines.