Nuclear energy, however, is the obvious choice for Pakistan
Nov 06 - 12, 2006
Energy is essential to improving the quality of life and generating opportunities in developed and developing countries. This has been conceded by the Group of Eight industrial nations in a recent session on "Global Energy Security", recognizing the individuality of each nation in tackling the challenging issue of energy requirement.
Today, the developing nations are confronted with rocketing fuel costs of power generation consequently eroding their hard-earned economic achievements. Despite endeavoring hard to tap alternative fuel resources for power generation such as natural gas, hydel resources, coal-based power generation, wind power and solar energy system, economies like Pakistan are finding it hard to meet their growing electricity demands.
In this backdrop, the nuclear energy becomes an alternative option provided the world community reaches a consensus to use this option to bridge the alarmingly rise in energy deficit. Despite carrying risks, it is strongly believed that development of nuclear energy would contribute to global energy security besides reducing harmful air pollution caused by other fuels like fuel oil, coal etc. considered as the great polluters.
In the face of abnormal increase in fuel cost and demand growth for electricity, nuclear energy seems gradually making a comeback worldwide, especially in Asia. Since nuclear energy produces no greenhouse gases it has been hailed by some environmentalists as a good way of protecting the climate while meeting growing demand for electricity under the charter to ensure transparency and predictability.
The current energy scenario shows that energy supplies consist of LPG 0.4 percent, coal 7.6 percent, hydro electricity 11 percent while nuclear electricity contributes hardly 1.2 percent to the energy mix in Pakistan, oil 29.4 percent and gas contributes the largest share of 50.4 percent.
A breakdown of the electricity consumption indicates that a major portion goes to domestic consumers i.e 42.5 percent, with industrial consumption estimated at 28.1 percent, agriculture 11.5 percent, streetlight 0.5 percent and government organizations 10.9 percent.
It is estimated that electricity demand is increasing at 10 percent indicating a vibrant economic growth in Pakistan. The government of the day has chalked a comprehensive plan to cater to the electricity need in collaboration with the private sector.
21 WAPDA, KESC PROJECTS UNDERWAY
To increase power production, 18 projects are being implemented by Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and three by the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) and these are likely to be commissioned during the next three years.
A number of hydro/thermal power projects had been planned to cope with the fast growing need of the country. The computed demand of the power system has increased at the rate of about 10 per cent during the last fiscal year 2005-06.
Three projects in KESC system are: four 122 MW open cycle gas turbines, each having the capacity to generate 488MW electricity that would be completed between April-July 2007; steam turbines combined cycle with capacity to generate 342 MW electricity, which will be completed in 2008; and DCL plant with 80 MW capacity to be completed in March 2007.
* Actual data from HDIP (2005)
KESC TO IMPORT CABLES, EQUIPMENT TO REPLACE UNDERGROUND NETWORK
The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) has placed orders to international manufacturers for the supply of modern cables and equipment to replace its ageing underground network and to stabilise the low voltage problem and growing demand of power in the metropolis.
In this regard, the KESC would import cables from Canada, Australia and China, while some very 'specialised cables' would be imported from some European countries.
Due to torrential downpour in the metropolis, which did not give time to power utility to prepare itself, has affected the infrastructure, especially the underground cable network that leads to continuos localised faults, low voltage and sudden power breakdowns in various localities.
The KESC has conducted a survey of its distribution system in the city, which revealed that underground cables have been affected in the areas where drain water remains stagnant, thus causing disruption in power supply.
The study further identified the leaking roofs of 48 sub-stations at KESC's Operational Region-l and 12 sub-stations at Sea View Township.
The KESC has made a detailed planning of its underground cables replacement in the city but the areas marked in its 'Red Zone' - including Liaquatabad, Gulshan-e-lqbal, Haroonabad, SITE, Gulbahar and adjoining areas - would be given priority due to over-loading of aging underground cables that regularly cause interruptions.
Most of the underground cables and equipment installed at sub-stations are over 30 years old. Interestingly, the manufacturers of such equipment in United Kingdom had been closed down for years and thus obtaining their replacement is virtually impossible. Definitely, KESC has to replace it from the new available modern equipment that are reliabile and efficient.
The under cables network is not in good condition and it needs replacement but the cables have to be replaced in the 'Red Zone'. KESC needs hundreds of miles long cables in the city and it plans to do it gradually.
The expected city power demand is likely to touch 2030 MW against the available power of 2120MW. Wapda is supplying 680MW, of this KDA-Jamshoro grid is providing 300MW while NKIBaldia is supplying 380MW.
INSTALLED CAPACITY & PEAK DEMAND
Nuclear (CHASHNUPP) PAEC
Sub Total (WAPDA System)
Peak Demand (incl export to KESC 510 MW)
Nuclear (KANUPP) PAEC
Sub Total (KESC System)
Total Installed Capacity
Hydro 33%, Thermal 65%, Nuclear 2.4%
Source: Pakistan Water & Power Development Authority
KESC PLANS TO GENERATE ADDITIONAL 1000 MW POWER
KESC would produce 1000 MW additional electricity from next year to control the power crises as the administration has been taking steps to control electricity crises and due to its concrete efforts KESC would be able to produce 1000 MW electricity by next year.
Foreign experts invited to help increase power generation: KESC
Karachi Electric Supply Corporation has invited foreign experts for enhancing its power station generating capability up to 50 MW.
Moreover, KESC has ordered some essential parts for the generating units of Bin Qasim Thermal Power Station to some Japan and Italy based companies. KESC has also made a plan to install 15 pre-fabricated sub-stations as those will be suitable for the areas close to the coast. Concrete-made buildings of sub-station cannot survive in the areas nearer to seaside due to the presence of salts in the atmosphere.
The validity of those pre-fabricated sub-stations would be more than 20 years, it is guaranteed.
The implementation on strengthening distribution system has been started and after May, 2007 people would feel difference as far as distribution of power supply is concerned. In the past underground cables were laid in a haphazard way, causing cable faults and resulting in prolong power breakdowns. Not only sub-standard cables were used but contractors did not lay these cables according to the contract and as per the international standards.
KESC TO HAVE SURPLUS POWER
Water and Power Minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi has assured the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) of surplus power supply. Liaquat Jatoi pointed out that these measures would ensure availability of 81MW, which would help overcome the shortage of 44MW as informed by KESC in the meeting and because of which the ongoing load-shedding was taking place.
About Rs6 billion had already been utilised in this regard while remaining Rs 8 billion were included in the current fiscal budget and would be used for constructing nine more grid stations, and the work on three of them was in progress.
KESC'S 1,OOOMW PLANT TO HELP AVERT LOAD-SHEDDING
Karachi will soon have a new 1000 MW power generating plant being set up by Karachi Electric Supply Corporation to get rid of power outages and load-shedding.
The private sector KESC management has also entered a power purchase agreement for 50 MW from a wind power generating unit coming up in the private sector.
It may be mentioned that the private sector management has committed an investment of PKR 4.8 billion (USD 800 million) for improving power generation, transmission and distribution network of the city's power utility.
The KESC Board of Directors has approved an 840 MW power generation plant which will run on full capacity by 2008. However, by April 2007, 552 MW will be supplied to Karachi and the capacity would reach 690 MW by July 2007.
At present, KESC is generating around 1270 MW of power from its own resources while the rest of the demand is met through IPPs, Kannup, DHA and WAPDA.
With the electricity demand expected to rise by 7.4 per cent per annum till 2010, KESC will require additional electricity, either supplied through WAPDA or generating through its own system, in order to bridge the demand-supply gap.
It is anticipated that some sort of balance between supply and demand will continue till 2006, but as the demand grows, the present capacity will fail to meet it. The imminent gap between the demand and supply particularly after 2006 would leave no choice but to expand the sector — both through indigenous capacity and the foreign direct investment.
Currently, KESC is in the process of upgrading the city power supply system in the shortest possible time. Nevertheless, while working to upgrade the system, the power supply network is switched off for the workers and engineers to make connections, change lines and add new transformers.
In 2003, KESC planed to invest in two new projects to produce 900 MW electricity. Investors had shown interest in these projects and 27 investors had particularly shown their earnest desire to invest in the project.
It was planned to be incorporated with the help of natural gas suppliers but unfortunately this project could not be completed because of lack of interest shown by the natural gas supplier company.
During the past four months, KESC has undertaken various initiatives to improve power generation: Boilers combustion tuning, fixing of hydrogen leakages, condensers high pressure water cleaning and vacuum improvement, boiler safety value, calibration/adjustment/testing, de-silting of water intake channel, setting up of plant performance management reporting system, etc.
In addition to this KESC has initiated 51 rehabilitation projects to ensure optimum performance of the installed power generation capacity. These include refitting LP turbine blades, repairing of boilers and rehabilitation of high pressure heaters at Bin Qasim Power Station.
KESC STARTS WORK ON 750MW PLANT
The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) has officially undertaken the civil works to set up a combine-cycle (gas-steam) turbine to add another 750 MW to its system to fill the ever-widening gap between the demand and supply of electricity.
It will be the first power plant to be built since 1994 when the government had put a ban on this erstwhile state-run power supplying agency in a bid to promote independent power projects (IPPs). Since the KESC has now become a private company it is no longer obliged to follow the ban.
This new fully digitalized power plant will cost an estimated Rs 50 billion and would be completely energised by June 2008. "Keeping in view the increasing load demand on the KESC system we have inhiated a new power project of about 750 MW at the existing Korangi Power Plant premises," the KESC said.
The corporation arranged a media visit to the site where journalists were shown the old and worn-out Korangi power station, which has served the city far longer than its designed life. The site for the new project overlooking the Arabian Sea was also shown where experts have already conducted soil testing.
The new project would comprise four gas turbines, each with a capacity of about 122 MW. They would subsequently be converted into highly efficient combined cycle blocks by adding two steam turbines of 131 MW each. Thus each block of a combined cycle will be of about 375 MW.
The first of the four gas turbine units would be commissioned by April next year and each of the remaining three would be commissioned in May, July and August. In August, all four gas turbine units will be functional.
According to the KESC CEO, more than 488 MW of power is expected to be injected into the KESC system by the next summer, thus minimizing the demand and supply gap to a substantial extent. The commissioning date for the first combined cycle block (steam turbine units) would be February 2008 and the second in June 2008.
Civil works have already been taken in hand and soil investigation work has already been completed. The process to erect the infrastructure is expected to commence from December/ January 2007.
According to the KESC chief, the Korangi Power Plant is the oldest and second largest among the existing power plants of the corporation. It is located at Korangi Creek and is spread over a total bounded area of 55 acres.
The installed capacity of the plant is 382 MW, whereas its existing capacity is around 192 MW. The installed capacity of units no. I and 2 were 66 MW each while those of units no. 3 and 4 were 125 MW each. Its first unit was commissioned in July 1965 and the last (the fourth) in 1977. This plant is worn out but once the new combine-cycle project is commissioned it will work as a reserve source to supplement the energy generation.
Energy consumption in the developing countries is expected to climb 122 quadrillion Btu, portraying an increase of 116 percent. The increase in energy use in the developing world is roughly double from what it is in all countries in the global economy. Accompanying the process of economic development, additional energy would be required in the developing countries. Rapid economic growth reflected in its GDP growth from 5.1 percent in 2002-03 to 6.4 percent in 2003-04 and 8.4 percent in 2004-05, it is heading for 7 percent at the end of current financial. All this growth needs cheap, abundant and an environment-friendly source of energy. Nuclear energy, however, is the obvious choice for Pakistan.