Energy Crisis in Pakistan
“What does ‘LOL’ stand for in Pakistan?
Pakistan is energy-deficient. How can one imagine an active and prosperous human being short on blood? Life is hard without sufficient blood running up and down the veins, pumped by the heart round the clock. Pakistan has failed to contain its energy crisis; failing to increase supply proportionately and conserving demand. In 1980s, it met 86% of its demand; come 2000s, situation is getting worse. Explosion in the supply of natural gas gave the nation a breather, sharing burden of electricity and oil, only to make future insecure as gas reserves deplete at fast rate. Fire-fighting on the part of government becomes national strategy, instead of proactive, long-term planning. This has contributed to circular debt problem because of short-sightedness of political government. Let alone increase the supply of energy, situation has worsened due to poor management, operational inefficiencies, power theft, and line losses. This largely sums up the problems country faces in its battle to restore sanity in energy sector, which is now nudging the economy towards disaster, warns latest report of Asian Development Bank.
[Energy sector in Pakistan]
Energy sector of Pakistan is considered to be under-developed. The root problem is energy generation which never took place proportionately with the rising demand and positive economic growth. The songs of ‘all is well’ were sung by the planners, and now we are in a quagmire where no short-term solution can work. Apart from this energy generation failure, government did little to contain the demand which seems to have exploded out of proportion in past two decades; operational inefficiencies and line losses are costing government billions; power theft; and on the top of that, the cheapest source of electricity, namely, hydropower, suffers from seasonal oscillations between 2,414 and 6,761 megawatts, depending on river flow. To offset the gap between supply and demand, populace suffers from load management or load-shedding. This crisis has pervasive and far-reaching consequences on economy, society and overall functioning of the country. The country is in need of 15,000 to 20,000 megawatts (MW) per day. Its current supply is, however, around 11,500 MW per day. Hence, it faces a shortfall of around 3,500 to 8,500 MW. This is the root of cause of all troubles for the struggling economy and industry.
[Sources of energy]
Non-renewable resource is the main energy source of Pakistan, which basically is fossil fuel. There are four main types of fossil fuels: oil, natural gas, coal and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). First, petroleum contributes 29% to the total supply of energy, as of 2009-10. The majority of crude oil is imported from Gulf States. Highest consumers of this source are power, transport and industry sectors followed by agriculture and households. Second, natural gas became the fast growing energy source in various sectors of the economy. Third, coal reservoirs are deemed to be the last hope of energy-deficient Pakistan. With over 180 billion tonnes of coal reserves identified at Thar coal field.
Another major energy source consists of renewable resources. These resources are naturally replenished and can be utilized again and again to produce energy, coming from sources such as water, sunlight, wind, tide and geothermal heat. It is sustainable and clean. Hydropower is produced using electricity generators to extract energy from moving water. Pakistan is a goldmine of hydel power, which is under-utilized contributing only 34% to total electricity generation. The potential generation ranges between 41,000 to 45,000 MW, whereas only 6555 MW is being tapped. Currently, there are five hydropower stations, fully functional, namely, Tarbela Dam, Ghazi Brotha, Chashma, Warsak and Mangla Dam, with combined production of 6555 MW....
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