PAKISTAN - ENERGY INEFFICIENT

TARIQ AHMED SAEEDI (tariqsaeedi@hotmail.com)
Nov 02 - 08, 2009

While government of Pakistan has concentrated its energy to meet power deficits in the country within a short span by promoting independent power productions and rental power plants, it is yet to develop a broad based power policy that includes operational strategies to ensure investments in clean technology and infrastructure to optimize outputs from the present system.

Even with inductions of new IPPs and rental power plants in the system, the electricity demand will continue to dominate gross supply as net capability in megawatts is projected to be below than the total demand by December this year, suggests the graphical representation by Pakistan electric power company (Pepco). In addition, gross addition of hydropower will be equivalent to 502 megawatts by 2011 and 22 IPPs would add only 4,608 megawatts in the system by June 2012, according to a conservative estimate.

Projections do not always befit the actual outcomes, however, given the increasing demands of electricity in the country-according to an estimate the demand is growing 10.26 percent annually-the new supplies in the system are imperative otherwise economic growth might take a u-turn. This may be a rigid view for some optimists who could cite large-scale manufacturing growth in the first quarter this year despite power crisis as a counter argument. Nonetheless, that stability in power supply is prerequisite for economic wheeling and dealing cannot be denied. Cost of production climbs to an uncompetitive level due to high-energy price that is a corollary of energy inefficiency.

For meeting the mounting demand of electricity on self-sustainable basis, while new power projects should be started immediately, government takes concrete steps to minimize energy inefficiency. Controlling energy inefficiency is a global phenomenon spreading from United States, China, Japan, to Europe. Concisely, many developed and industrialized countries are planning improvement and modernization of energy systems to best utilize electricity and investments in clean technology by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in usage of fossil fuel.

If Pakistan achieves energy security with completely abridging demand and supply gap, industrial sector would likely to grow 10 percent per annum, noted energy efficiency roadmap designed by the government.

INVESTMENTS IN CLEAN TECHNOLOGY

While renewable energy is cost effective, Pakistan can rise up from the energy deficient's status and lessen cost of electricity production by improving energy conserving technologies and preparing an implementable plan to revamp distributing and generating capacities of power utilities. It is relevant to mention that electricity losses of power distribution companies range from 30 to 50 percent-that is huge. Production below derated capacity, which is calculated after considering natural transmission and distribution losses, is another deficiency-spurring factor in the power sector of Pakistan.

The most-inspiring initiative recently announced by the green-obsessed US president Obama extends up to $200 million props each to different entities to reduce losses of power from the grid through revamping the system. This smart energy grid initiative has three to four billion dollars overall allocation and revolutionizes the power system in line with the country's resolve to build the green economy.

In concurrence, United States has also announced an energy conservation package for Pakistan, though the size of the amount is much less than what is to be distributed maximally to any city, company, etc. of US under 'smart energy grid' program. The 125 million dollars energy plan is to rehabilitate and upgrade energy consumption, generation and distribution capacities of Pakistan's power sector.

Apart from this, government of Pakistan planned to utilize financial assistances of Asian Development Bank (ADB) for energy conservation. Pakistan electric power company has invited international bids from companies for supply of energy saving bulbs in the country. ADB-funded 'energy efficiency investment programme' would supply one million energy saving bulbs to electricity consumers possibly at nominal prices. Although the same programme after echoing in the media few months ago crept in to the silence, this time Pepco is poised to make these bulbs available in the local markets by the end of December.

The ADB programme is the financially big and the long-range Pakistan has perhaps ever signed with any international financial institution in the energy sector. The total cost of the 'energy efficiency investment programme (2009-2018)' is expected to be $1.18 billion and total cost of investment plan $3.8 billion. The multitranche financing facility has planned to finance physical investment projects including efficient lightning and appliances in the domestic, public, and commercial sectors; energy loss reduction in thermal power generation; energy loss reduction in the gas transmission and distribution; and industrial energy efficiency. The agreement was signed in August this year.

The ADB recognized lack of investment in replacing obsolete technology and infrastructure as a cause for inefficiency. The energy and capacity shortfalls could have inhibited economic growth by 0.8 percent of GDP in FY08.

Government signed another financing agreement with the ADB to rehabilitate transmission networks. Besides, the government has adopted the energy efficiency roadmap that includes scaling up deployment of proven technologies through public investments in all major energy-consuming sectors. An aggressive public awareness campaign should also be a part of the roadmap.

PUBLIC AWARENESS

As the rundown electric equipments cause wastage of electricity, its avoidance can improve productivity of the energy. Several times, it has been repeated in the different sections of media that Pakistan is becoming dumping ground of electronic wastes, equipments which are high energy consuming and have recurring costs, being flowed from across the borders. Government should monitor imports of such products in the country that are economical but can be energy inefficient.