HARNESSING LOCAL ENERGY RESOURCES

DR. S.M. ALAM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
May 30 - June 5, 20
11

The industrial revolution, urbanization and extension of grid to far-flung areas have resulted in tremendous increase in the energy consumption thus causing an actuate shortage of power. This power shortfall has been advancing gradually affecting all sectors.

Due to fast urbanization of new towns and localities, fast industrial development in the country, and fast growing consumer demand, transmission losses and seasonal reductions are just some of the reasons for the energy crisis. It has been estimated that the average shortfall in the supply demand gap is more than 5000 MW.

Energy is the most fundamental ingredient for the development and growth of economy and its adequate supply is a pre-requisite to generate economic activities. The main objective of the energy sector is to ensure adequate, secure, and cost-effective supplies, utilizing the resources efficiently and minimizing the losses.

There are different sources for producing electricity.

It has been reported that world gets 39 per cent through coal, wood and vegetation; 19 per cent through hydropower sources; 17.5 per cent through nuclear energy; 14.5 per cent through gas; 9.9 per cent through oil, and 0.4 per cent through wind, landfill gas and solar means.

Per capita consumption of electricity in different countries of the world are (kilo watt hours): USA (11,753), Japan (6,176), Singapore (4,889), Malaysia (1,146), Iran (724), Thailand (636), China (448), Pakistan (340) and India (292). The per capita energy consumption reflects the industrial advancement of a country.

Pakistan has a total installed generating capacity of about 19,522 MW from different sources i.e. hydel, thermal (gas, oil, and coal), and nuclear. The break-up is such as Wapda 11,327 MW (50 per cent), KESC 1,756 MW (11 per cent), PAEC 452 MW (3 per cent) and IPPs 5,977 MW (36 per cent). Of the total capacity 5,000 MW (about 26 per cent) is hydro while the rest 14,522 MW is thermal and other sources. Between 1985 and 2008, Pakistan's total installed power generating capacity increased nearly fourfold i.e. from 5229 MW to 19,522 MW.

The prevalent energy crisis has made life extremely hard for the hapless masses as they face many hours of load shedding and this has resulted in shortage of light and water and lack of protection against extreme weather conditions. The resulting sleepless nights, disfigured daily routines and exacerbated financial conditions have made life all but a set of continuous physical, financial and psychological tortures.

With the advent of summer months, the power shortage and frequent load-shedding in various parts of the country has created havoc and uproar among the masses, as the whole country and the rural areas fall in the darkness in most of the times. The demand for electricity will continue to rise in the years to come. An average annual growth of eight percent is expected.

It has been assumed that plugging power theft can abridge power supply demand. Many shantytowns or slum areas are involved in act of stealing electricity multiplying operational loss of the electricity producing organizations and causing power failures in the country and particularly in big cities. Since majority of these settlements have no legitimate access to electricity, Kunda system or electricity-sharing would provide a good substitute to them. Such practices can be controlled. Presently, over 50 million people are living below poverty line. For them, it is impossible to pay monthly utilities bills. There are many shops which have been constructed on the foot path and road sides and these shop keepers have illegal connection from the poles directly.

Many halls, functions on the roads and light illumination take illegal connections. No one has fear of Allah. We have forgotten the teachings of the Holy Quran and teaching of prophet (PBUH). Even the big influential bosses and elites of the country are not sincere and faithful in this scenario. The unity among the people has been smashed. Every body is running for money by ill-mannered ways.

Al-Mighty Allah has given Pakistan big rivers, natural resources such as coal, gas, oil, minerals, glaciers, and big mountains.

Pakistan has the sixth most populous country of the world after China, India, US, Brazil and Indonesia with more than 180 million tough, diligent and hardworking people. Now the country needs real unity, we are a divided and disturbed nation. There is no peace of mind in the masses. Stress, depression, and tension are common phenomena. It is because we have forgotten the wrath of Allah.

There is great need to think for production of electricity through indigenous resources. The reserves of natural resource such gas is decreasing day by day. There is also enough natural oil in our earth crust and we are pumping nearly 68,000 barrel/day. There are about eight oil refineries in the country. The cost of refining crude oil is very high. And therefore, we import almost 75 per cent crude from foreign countries.

There is every possibility of generating our required electricity through our coal reserves. The country has about 184 billion tons of coal reserves in the country (8th in the world). We are using only 6 per cent of coal for electricity. There are many countries in the world which have little coal mine, but they are producing electricity through coal such as China, USA, Canada, India, Japan, Germany, France etc.

Coal is good source for using in varieties of fields such as cement industry, brick-kiln, and power sector.

Wind has been proved as a powerful natural source for generating electricity in most countries of the world, where the powerful wind resource is available. Around the world, the renewable energies targets have been set and the last decade saw an immense increase in the world wind energy output. To generate any measurable power from wind, we need strong wind speed of more than five meters per second. Another problem with the speed of the wind is that it should be steady and consistent throughout the day.

China which has been generating more than 3,450 MW from wind has an impressive record of 156 per cent increase of wind energy during recent years. Spain is producing 15,100 MW, 40 per cent of local energy demand. The United States of America has seen great boom in the last decade and generates 19,540 MW from on-land and offshore wind farms. The US has vast areas of seashores from Maine State in the East to Washington State in the West. The USA has started its wind energy mill in 1940 and Europe in 1923. At present, there are 28 European countries full of natural resources. Denmark is producing 8,312 MW through coastal wind. A number of other countries including Italy, the UK, Holland, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, and Japan have crossed the 3,000 MW mark of installed capacity.

Pakistan has a long coastal belt of 1050 kilometers from Sindh to Balochistan which is highly suitable for wind energy generation. To generate power from wind, we need strong wind speed of more than six meters per second. In the long coastal areas, the dispersing wind blows from March to November in almost normal speed. Due to its ideal geographical location, Pakistan possess immense potential to harness unlimited solar and wind energy. The average wind speeds of 5 to 7 meters per second are available in most of the coastal areas in Sindh and Balochistan as well as in a few northern valleys of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and AJk which are suitable for producing electricity.