By Irfan AligiKARACHI: Wouldn’t it be better if we first considered using the resources in Pakistan before importing technology for the electricity crisis? This would seem like the obvious choice but one energy expert, Mian Suhail Hussain of Gresham’s (Pvt) Ltd, argues that the government seems bent on the opposite. Sixty percent of the total energy produced in the country is hydel. But the capacity of reservoirs is shrinking and we don’t have enough dams.
According to Hussain, the government has several plans of action. The first is working towards agreements with foreign investors, including Japan Power, Sepcol and Attock Power Company, for combined-cycle fuel oil engines worth US$1 billion.
However, the basic cost of such electricity production would be Rs 12 per unit with these engines and the consumer will pay more. These combined-cycle fuel oil engines have a capacity of 48 percent and a waste rate of 52 percent. This means that these engines would use 100 percent fuel but produce only 48 percent electricity.
As a second measure, the government could rent four to five gas turbine projects that produce 200 to 300 MW from General Electric. These gas turbines would charge US$0.3 per kVA. The basic cost of electricity produced would be Rs 5 now and Rs 6.50 in December 2008 because gas prices will be increased 30 percent in July and another 30 percent in December 2008, Hussain claimed. The gas turbine rent per hour would be US$36,000 or US$300 million per year. Also, their capacity is only 40 percent and they would waste 60 percent of fuel, he maintained.
Husain expressed his concern over the price mechanism for Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Some of them, including Saphire, Saif Group, Mansha, have been given permission to install combined-cycle gas turbines. These turbines would have 52 percent efficiency. Husain claimed that the National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority has allowed these IPPs to charge US$0.9 per kVA. Thus, the power would be available for Rs 7.50 per kVA at the producers’ end.
But what about the Kyoto protocol? Pakistan loses out on this, he regretted.
Hussain suggests instead that the government looks to produce electricity with what it has got now. “The country is rich in natural resources and raw material that has vast potential to help overcome the power crisis and the amount produced would even be enough for life,” he said.
In the first case, there is municipal solid waste that could produce 20,000 MW. The city produces at least 30,000 tons of dry municipal solid waste per day. If used, we could save on about 4,000 tons of fuel oil per day worth US$150 million. The waste would produce 7.5 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) worth millions of dollars. This would save almost US$1 billion per year, he claimed.
The second case: 1m windmills are able to produce 5,400,000 MW worth US$2.3 billion. “Why wait for foreign help when we have a long coastal belt and wind pressure across the country, which is a free natural source to move thousands of wind turbines,” he said. If it were roughly estimated that the city has one million homes and each is equipped with a windmill worth Rs 150,000, it would produce 3,000,000 kVA per hour. These windmills would earn US$46.4 million per year in carbon credit earnings and this amount would be US$464 millions in ten years, he claimed.
The third case: Pakistan produces a minimum of 10 million tons of sunflower plant remnants and cotton plant wood, which we throw away as useless. These raw materials could produce power at a very low cost, he added.
In the fourth case, Pakistan has coal reserves of about 180 billion tons but they should be left for the next generation. “We should put on John Rambo headbands to solve our power crisis or else we will remain at the mercy of developed countries because they have fixed their eyes on our energy reserves,” Hussain said.
Courtesy: Daily Times, 25/5/2008