DR. S. M. ALAM
Oct 24 - 30, 2011
Energy, which is vital for life, is produced through natural resources. In the present day scenario, the industrial revolution, urbanization and extension of grid to far-flung areas in a country have resulted in tremendous increase in the energy consumption thus causing shortage of power. This scenario is affecting all and sundry.
There are different sources for producing electricity all over the world: coal (39 per cent); water (19 per cent); nuclear (17.5 per cent); gas (14.5 per cent); oil (9.9 per cent) and wind, landfill gas, solar and others (0.4 per cent). Per capita consumption of some countries in kilowatt hours are 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 electricity generating capacity of more than 20,000 MW from different sources i.e. thermal (gas and oil), hydel, and nuclear.
There is a great need to produce electricity through indigenous resources. The reserves of natural resource such gas is decreasing day by day. Natural gas largely contains 80 per cent methane (CH4) gas along with small quantities of ethane, propane, butane and also contains carbon dioxide, N and occasionally helium.
Gas is the prime source of energy in Pakistan as it meets nearly 60 per cent of the natural energy requirements. Natural gas is supplied through pipelines from gas wells for use as fuels in the homes, industries and into thermal electric power stations in the different parts of the country.
The biggest consumer of gas is the power sector, which uses it for generating electricity. Nearly 50 per cent of the gas is used in the power sector. Industry uses another 20 per cent. The next big consumer is the fertilizer industry, which uses 16 per cent as feedstock for producing urea.
There is also enough natural oil in our earth crust. We are pumping over 60,000 barrels per day. The demand for petroleum product is expected to stay steady at 20 million tons per annum with the increased energy demand to be catered by additional indigenous gas supplies.
About 40 per cent of world's energy needs are met through coal and there is every possibility of generating required electricity through Thar coal. There are many countries in the world that are producing electricity through coal: China 78 per cent, USA 50 per cent, Germany 47, Greece 58, Czech Rep 59, Morocco 59, Kazakhstan 70, Israel 71, Australia 80, Poland 93, and South Africa 93 per cent.
In Pakistan, the share of coal in the energy mix is very low. Thar coal can be utilized for the production of electricity on a large quantity. Other provinces of the country have also large deposits of coals.
Wind has also been proved as a powerful natural source for generating electricity in most countries of the world, where the powerful wind resource is available. Past decades saw immense increase in the wind energy output worldwide. China, which has been generating more than 3,450 MW from wind, has an impressive record of 156 per cent increase in wind energy during recent years. Spain is producing 15,100MW electricity from wind. 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 USA has started windmills in 1940 and Europe in 1923. At present, there are 28 European countries full of natural resources. Denmark is producing 8312MW through coastal wind. A number of other countries including Italy, the UK, Holland, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Japan etc. each have crossed the 3,000MW marks of production.
Pakistan has a long coastal belt from Sindh to Balochistan, which is highly suitable for wind energy generation. Due to its ideal geographical location, Pakistan possesses 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. For a long term energy security, the country's best hope is with the indigenous energy resources such as coal, hydropower and renewable resources.