By Mansoor Ahmad LAHORE: Pakistan is producing expensive electricity because of its dependence on furnace oil and lack of use of sources such as wind, sunlight and coal, a study of power generation capacity of different countries reveals.
According to World Coal Institute, 41.5 percent of global electricity in the world is produced through coal, 21.1 percent through gas, 16 percent through water resources, 14.6 percent through nuclear power plants and only 5.8 percent through oil. Wind, biomass and sunlight account for 2.3 percent of global electricity production.
World Coal Institute states that China produces 79 percent of its electricity from coal, India 69 percent, United States 49 percent, Germany 46 percent and Poland and South Africa more than 90 percent.
Of the 18,500 MW installed electricity generation capacity in Pakistan 6,400 MW is produced through water resources and 300 MW through nuclear fuel. The rest, about 12,000 MW, is produced through oil and gas. Since there is a shortage of gas, particularly during winter, sometimes almost all power is generated through furnace oil.
Private captive power units produce over 2500 MW of electricity through gas. When gas is not available in Punjab during winter, they have to shift to furnace oil or diesel.
Pakistan does not produce any significant amount of electricity from solar and wind sources, nor from biomass. These along with water and nuclear fuel are the cleanest sources of power generation. The upfront cost is a little higher than thermal plants, but the running cost is very low.
According to Green Cross International, solar energy is developing at a fast pace across the world. Germany produced 5,722 MW of solar power in 2008. It was followed by Spain with 3000 MW, Japan 2100 MW, India 112 MW and China 100 MW.
Global Wind Report 2009 of Global World Energy Council states that China has become the largest wind power producer with generation of 25,805 MW of which 13,803 MW was added in 2009 alone. Germany produces 25,777 MW of wind power.
India had installed wind power generation capacity of 10,985 MW by end 2009. It added 1,271 MW in 2009 alone. Pakistan produces only 50 MW.