It was not possible to overcome the energy deficit early due to the fact that there would be almost 5,000MW of power shortage over the months to come, according the competent sources. The government anticipates that this year in summers, power demand would increase by 1,000MW over the last year’s demand of 23,000MW and will go up to 24,000MW. The government has repeatedly stated its intent to overcome load shedding but it has not been able to do so.
There is concern about the extent to which the government will be able to tackle load shedding before the upcoming general election campaign. It seems energy sector will continue to be a major focus in 2018 elections.
Pakistan’s energy infrastructure is in its poorly managed state and it is outdated. There is corruption, negligence, political opposition to various situations. Projects and line losses etc, the quick demand growth, power theft, seasonal reductions in the availability of hydropower have exacerbated the situation. As a result, the demand exceeds supply and load shedding is often mostly through power shutdown.
Currently Pakistan is facing a severe energy crisis. Million of Pakistanis either have no access to the power grid or suffer over 14 hours of load-shedding daily. Karachi, the largest city is experiencing up to 14 hours load shedding in peak hot weather.
FUTURE ENERGY PROJECTS
The government initiated many energy projects and some of those are functional in the near future. The 969MWs of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project’s first unit will start generation by February 2018, second unit in mid-March. The first unit of 1,410MW of Tarbela-IV extension will be completed by end of December 2017, whereas its other two units will be completed in high water flow season in 2018. The third unit of Chashma Nuclear Power Plant in Mianwali district, the total nuclear technology based power generation has reached the mark of 1040 Megawatt, but still much below 8000 Megawatt, the target set by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
The government is attempting to add capacity to the grid in order to remedy the persistent power shortage, but these measures will take time to come into effect. There are some more immediate solutions to the problem. One is the conservation and efficient use of energy.
ENERGY POTENTIAL OF OUR COUNTRY
No serious thinking is being given to utilize the energy to a desirable level. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is another way Pakistan can turn towards cleaner forms of energy. China has total wind and solar installed renewable energy, at about 140,000MW.
Pakistan has potential of more than 100,000MW from solar energy. Half of this potential exists in one contiguous belt of Sindh coastline.
There are some solar power plants being constructed in Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan but more and more plants should be built at a rapid pace.
Pakistan has potentials of wind energy up to 50000MW. Power generation through wind is in its infancy stages. Currently 6MW has been installed in first phase in Jhampir through a Turkish company.
There is desperate need for power generation with the construction of hydel power projects that provide much cheaper electricity.
Pakistan has potential of hydro resources to generate 41000 to 45000MW. Only 6555MW is currently being generated by this important renewable resource.
Pakistan the largest coal fields in Thar, having reserves of more than 175 billion tones but no good work is done to explore the coal for power generation. It is complained that the coal quality is inferior. However solutions are available to burn any type of coal. In addition to power generation, this coal can be used for chemical and fertilizer production.
Energy crisis has spread all sectors ranging from economy to industry, agriculture to social life and it is hindering progress economically and socially.
The government should overwhelm this menace because it is both a political and economic issue at the same time.