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Review of renewable and nuclear energy

Internationally, major share of energy demand is contributed by the emerging economies, which are rising at a high rate and undergoing drastic demographic alters. The Finance Ministry of Pakistan recorded that in the developed states, the rise in power demand because of higher living standards, is offset by power efficiency gains borne by the use of energy efficient technology and energy conserving infrastructure. Thus, worldwide energy supply is seeing a shift towards renewable energy exploration.

The experts mentioned that the developed states are restructuring their power systems to integrate renewable energy, with visible changes being made on the technological front through switching to low carbon technology in order to make sure power efficiency and mitigate environmental hazards. The Ministry also recorded that China has presently launched ‘Energy Production and Consumption Revolution Strategy (2016-2030) encompassing a regulatory framework to lessen air pollution and prescribing market reforms in oil & gas sector.

Furthermore, India’s ambitious power strategy aims at attainment of energy security by setting targets for universal electrification, reduction in oil imports, rising renewable energy generation capacity and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) commitments under Paris Climate Agreement to lessen the emissions intensity of the economy by 2030 (World Energy Outlook, 2017). Despite of all above, Pakistan has already framed its energy policy (National Power Policy-2013) in setting medium and long term targets to build a power generation capacity that can meet the country’s energy needs in a sustainable manner.

Renewable energy

No doubt, Pakistan is blessed with large potential of wind and solar resources that can be utilized for energy generation. The Government of Pakistan has planned to develop latest wind and solar power projects by competitive bidding instead of upfront tariffs and plans to carry out competitive bidding for almost 1200 MW wind and 600 MW solar power capacity during 2018.

The government statistics recorded that over the previous 5-year, 18 wind power projects of 937.27 MW cumulative capacity have attained commercial operation and are supplying electricity to the national grid, while 6 solar power projects of 418 MW capacity have been made operational. For power generation from bagasse cogeneration, 6 sugar mills having a cumulative capacity of 201.1 MW are operational. Furthermore, different sources also recorded that the government is working on renewable energy policy to harness immense potential in solar, wind and hydel resources and have good opportunities for investments. The government is also considering growing the share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix to 20 percent till year 2025 from the existing 4 percent share. It would further be raised to 30 percent by year 2030, having vast potential of investment and earnings on it.


Nuclear energy

The Finance Ministry of Pakistan also recorded that the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is tasked with generating electricity though nuclear power. Currently, there are 5 nuclear power plants operating on 2 sites in Pakistan, one unit namely, Karachi Nuclear power plant (KANUPP) at Karachi and 4 units of Chashma Nuclear power plants (C-1) C-2, C-3, C-4) at Chashma (Mainwali). The gross capacity of these 5 nuclear power plants is 1,430 MW that supplied about 5,811 million units of electricity to the national grid during the first 8-month of FY2018 KANUPP, the oldest of the nuclear power plants, has now completed 46 years of safe and successful operation.

All operating units at Chashma are amongst the best performers in Pakistan in terms of endurance and availability. Two more nuclear power plants at Karachi, Karachi Nuclear power plants units-2 & unit-3 (K-2 and K-3) are under construction. The First concrete pour of K-2 and K-3 was performed 20th August, 2015 and 31st May, 2016, respectively. The government officials also recorded that PAEC is planning to intensify its activities to meet the nuclear electricity generation target of 8,800 MW by the year 2030. Construction of K-2/K-3 is the first major step in this regard and the PAEC is planning to develop additional sites to house more nuclear power plants in future with the sites identified throughout the country being investigated and acquired for development. Presently, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) permitted a 57 paisa per unit rise in consumer tariff for ex-Wapda distribution companies (Discos) on account of monthly fuel cost adjustment.

The higher rates for electricity consumed in December will be recovered from consumers in the upcoming billing month and these would yield about Rs 4.5 billion in extra revenue to Discos. The nuclear energy contributed about 11.62 percent of electricity to the national grid at a fuel cost of 95 paisa per unit while power produced by sugar mills accounted for less than 1 percent share at a fuel cost of Rs 6.2 per unit.

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