ENERGY GENERATION MIX - RE-COMPOSITION IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY

LOOKING FOR THE OPTIMAL MIX

SHAMSUL GHANI (shams_ghani@hotmail.com)
Apr 07 - 13, 2008

The prevailing energy crisis has many dimensions. From disturbing the equanimity level of citizens to upsetting the economic growth forecasts, it has made its presence felt in almost every conceivable sphere of life. The solution obviously lies in at least doubling our generating capacity latest by 2015, if not 2010; a simple statement, of course. But, in fact, the simple solution has its critical ramifications. What should be the most optimal mix? How much thermal power we should produce on the principle of cost effectiveness? Further more, how much of the thermal power generation should be oil-based given the high international oil prices.

The following table gives the composition of our power generation mix covering a period of last 13 years:

 

1995 (%)

2004 (%)

2006 (MWH)

%AGE

2007 (MWH)

%AGE

Gas

37

50

6,656

44.16

5,510

36.50

Oil

42

30

3,042

20.19

4,314

28.57

Coal

6

6.5

21

0.14

20

0.13

Thermal

85

86.5

9,719

64.49

9,844

65.20

Hydel

15

12.7

4,975

33.01

4,905

32.50

Nuclear

-

0.8

378

2.50

342

2.30

Total

100

100

15,072

100

15,091

100

It will be observed that the gas-based power generation, after touching a high of 50% in 2004, has dropped back to 37% in 2007. The obvious reason is the depletion of known gas reserves resulting from the lack of investment on gas exploration side. We need to review our gas exploration policy to attract fresh investment in this all important sector of our economy. The oil-based power generation, after dropping to 20% level in 2006, has again resumed its upward journey. This is a disturbing development as we can not afford high oil-based generation in the wake of rising oil prices. The coal-based generation has dropped during the last four years to an almost zero level. This is a travesty of resource utilization. We have ample coal reserves that need to be mined and utilized in power generation. The sooner we replace the oil-based generation with the coal-based generation the better. The hydel power is the future power for our country endowed with sufficient water resources. The bifurcation of thermal and hydel power generation responsibilities between PEPCO and WAPDA should be a welcome sign as the arrangement will allow WAPDA to concentrate on hydel power generation alone. Hydel power is the cheapest and cleanest source of energy and every one looks with keen interest the development of hydel power sector. The nuclear power generation is closely linked to our relations with the outside world. This sector may be allowed to develop at its own pace. Renewable energy has found a significant place in the Planning Commission's vision-2030 energy mix development program reproduced here below.

THERMAL

 

OIL

GAS

COAL

HYDEL

NUCLEAR

RENEWABLE

TOTAL

Existing Capacity

6,400

5,940

160

6,460

400

180

19,540

Addition

             

2010

160

4,860

900

1,260

-

700

27,420

2015

300

7,550

3,000

7,570

900

800

47,540

2020

300

12,560

4,200

4,700

1,500

1,470

72,270

2025

300

22,490

5,400

5,600

2,000

2,700

110,760

2030

300

30,360

6,250

7,070

4,000

3,850

162,590

Total

7,760

83,760

19,910

32,660

8,800

9,700

162,590

%age

4.77

51.52

12.25

20.09

5.40

5.97

100

The picture painted by the table above looks quite rosy and to the liking of all and sundry. The problem is that rising power generation to the projected levels will take a lot of doing especially on gas, coal and hydel sides which will cumulatively account for 84% of the projected total for 2030. While WAPDA has projects on hand for the generation of 25,000 MW of hydel power, the gas-based and coal-based projections look a remote possibility.

NEED TO FOCUS ON HYDEL POWER GENERATION

We wasted almost 25 years toying with the idea of Kala Bagh Dam without opening up to other possibilities particularly the securing of consensus of all provinces on alternate dam projects. Nevertheless, WAPDA continued its good work of identifying, launching and constructing various hydel power projects. Its five projects with an aggregate capacity of 1388 MW in NWFP, Mianwali and Muzaffarabad (AJ & K) are due to be completed by 2010. The following under construction dam projects are also WAPDAís priority:

Gomal Zam Dam project
Mirani Dam project
Mangla Dam Raising project
Sabakzai Dam project
Satpara Dam project

The following projects announced by the President will significantly add to country's power generation capacity:

Diamer Basha Dam Project
Kurram Tangi Dam Project
Kala Bagh Dam Project
Munda Dam Project
Akhori Dam Project

Besides, WAPDA has in hand the feasibility of the following eleven small and large hydel power projects with an aggregate capacity of 13,819 MW:

Golen Gol

106 MW

Dasu

4,000 MW

Bunji

5,400 MW

Kenal Khwar

122 MW

Lawi

70 MW

Pallas Valley

621 MW

Spat Gah

610 MW

Basho

28 MW

Phander

40 MW

Jabban

22 MW

Thaskot

2,800 MW

Even if we achieve only the hydel power target set in the vision 2030 program, we will be in control of the situation that presently looks so bleak.