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Resolving energy crisis in Pakistan

Muhammad Daheem

Pakistan is facing a major energy crisis due to huge difference between demand and supply of electricity. The country is facing a serious shortfall of 4500MW to 5500MW per day at peak hours. This shortage has paralyzed our industry, commerce and everyday life. Basically the issue is because of corrupt and unstable governments, mafia groups, mismanagement in public sector, irresponsible bureaucracy, lack of political will and negative power politics in Pakistan. It also shows failure of policies and practices of our successive governments. It seems there is no proper planning to overpower the giant of energy crisis. Proper attention has not been given to the soaring demand for energy that may be 44% over the next decade.

No special efforts have been made to generate required energy sources. It’s high time Pakistan explored all possible energy resources for its growing energy demand. The uninterrupted supply of energy can change the destiny of the nation. The consumption of energy in domestic, industrial, trade, agriculture and commercial sector is increasing day by day. The rising demand of the energy and increasing sale of electric and electronic appliance may lead a part of the country into darkness. Pakistan can produce approximately 15,000MW to 19, 800MW electricity per day in the current session. The long and short term plans for the production of the energy should be based on several resources such as natural gas, thermal energy, hydropower, coal, solar energy, nuclear power plants, waste, wind, and other useful energy sources. These plans and projects should be opted by Federal as well as Provincial governments. Pakistan should not put all her eggs in one basket.

Iran has a gas project to resolve Pakistan’s power crisis. It produces 50,000MW electricity per day. It can supply at least 1100MW of electricity to Pakistan to overcome its recent power shortage. It can particularly supply electricity in areas adjoining Iran. Iran has a very developed electricity generation system and has offered Pakistan to meet the entire Pakistani shortage of electricity by offering the subsidized rate of 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Iran has even offered to build the entire transmission lines to Pakistan entirely with its own money and skilled labour on a record time of 14 months. It is a very brilliant option both economically as well as security wise. Iran’s offer is practically reasonable and genuine. It has the ability to fulfil Pakistan’s energy needs. It is already supplying energy to Turkey, Armenia and Afghanistan. Economically Pakistan will get as much power as it needs at low cast, and can spend its additional money on developing industries and other needed projects. And since Pakistan is going to deal with a government that is trustworthy, it will no more be under pressure of IPPs. The government of Pakistan and Iran should work together on a plan to make use of the resources of each other. There are many fields of mutual interest including oil and gas industry. These kinds of arrangements can be immensely successful and promote peace and prosperity between the traditionally linked countries.

It is estimated that 44.2 % of total electricity is consumed by household sector, 31.1 percent by industrial sector and 14.3 by agriculture sector, and the rest by other sectors. Energy plays key role in the economic development of a country. Unfortunately only 65 % people in Pakistan have access to electricity. Even then country is facing shortage of power particularly at peak hours. In fact, Pakistani governments never gave top priority to energy sector. Even Mangla and Tarbela were the incidental product of the Indus Water Treaty with India. Natural gas, one of the most important sources of energy, is used for industry, agriculture and domestic purposes in Pakistan. Pakistan’s gas reserves, 32.8 TCF approximately, are sufficient for a quarter of century only. Iran can lay pipeline from Pars to Pakistani border while Pakistan can construct the pipeline within the country. Another gas pipeline may be laid from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan. It also holds good prospects for other South Asian users, depending on the size of supplies that Turkmenistan can arrange. Pakistan can also import 4,000MW of cheap electricity from Central Asian States such as Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic. The gas can also be imported from Qatar and some other Arab countries by building a third gas pipeline from Qatar to Pakistan. With the development of Gawadar Port, Pakistan can provide the trade and energy facilities to regional companies. China, with alternative energy supply route of Gawadar, can help Pakistan in the field of energy resources. Karakoram Highway, one of the great wonders of the world, can be used for establishing pipelines and railway linkage between Pakistan and China. Pakistan has already good working relations with China for its oil and gas industry. .

IPPs were set up at the terms of the investors. They are still generating around 4,000MW to 4,500MW per day against 5,728MW power per day as agreed with government. With the passage of time, the power generation capacity of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) is declining. That is one of the major causes of power shortfall.

Courtesy: Pakistan Observer

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