Essay on “Energy Crisis” for CSS, PMS, and All Judiciary Examinations

This is an essay on “Energy Crisis” for CSS, PMS, and All Judiciary examinations. The energy crisis is the concern that the world’s demands on the limited natural resources that are used to power industrial society are diminishing as the demand rises. These natural resources are in limited supply. The Energy Crisis is also a big issue for Pakistan. So here is a complete essay on the topic of “Energy Crisis” for CSS, PMS, and All other Judiciary Examinations.

Essay on “Energy Crisis”

The global economic recovery from a downturn raised an important question in many parts of the world regarding energy security including diversification, generation, and its efficient allocation. The future of economic development hinges upon energy security and reframing of public policy for effective policy interventions will set the standard for shaping out the future of energy demand.

The global demand for different fuel sources is changing the overall energy mix to support cost-effective support to economic growth. Notwithstanding the falling share, oil is likely to remain the dominant fuel source in the primary energy mix till 2035.

It will remain sensitive to public policy actions to curb rising demand and emissions standards. Natural gas will play an instrumental role in meeting the world energy needs for at least the next two and half decades.

The demand for energy put pressure on people around the world to explore new vistas for energy and think beyond the available sources of energy. Exploring new renewable energy sources has become more important to lead the world towards a more secure, reliable, and sustainable energy path.

Energy is the key determinant of economic development and the prosperity of society. It also provides an impetus for keeping sustainability in economic growth. Pakistan, which falls in the middle income group, has been facing an unprecedented energy crisis for the past few years as the demand and supply gap widens. Its current energy demand far exceeds its indigenous supplies fostering dependency on the imported oil that put substantial burdens on the economy.

Recent unrests in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and political turmoil put up an upward pressure on the international oil prices with implications for Pakistan’s burgeoning oil import bill and boosting cost structure in the power generation sector leading to a severe domestic shortage of electricity and gas.

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Energy availability has remained the main impediment to economic growth. The growth prospects of the economy in 2010-11 were constrained by the availability of energy. In order to ensure energy supply, the government is pursuing policies of increasing domestic energy supplies by attracting foreign investment, diversifying imports to include natural gas, coal, and electricity.

It encourages the attainment of optimal energy mix through fuel substitution by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy and interregional cooperation. The country is facing a huge electric power crisis today. This crisis appears insurmountable in the near or even long-term future unless proper understanding and correct implementation is undertaken on a priority basis.

At present total power production capacity in the country is about 19,500 MW, out of which Hydel Power is only 6,500 MW, the balance of 13,000 MW is thermal either using Natural Gas or Furnace Oil. A small capacity of 450 MW is Nuclear and only 150 MW is through coal.

Although gas is to be provided for 5800 MW to various thermal plants, in actual fact much less gas is being made available, the deficiency is being filled through furnace oil. It can be inferred that in the recent past, only furnace oil was used as fuel for about 9000 MW generation.

The production cost of furnace oil electricity is Rs 16 per unit, add to it the transmission, distribution cost (including loses). “the total cost of such electricity works ou. to approximately Rs 22 per kWh. The difference between WAPDA tariff and the furnace oil electricity is Rs 17 per kWh.” It is estimated that the country consumes at least 25 billion units of electricity produced annually through furnace oil, which amounts to a total deficit of  Rs 425 Billion. If WAPDA has to balance its books it would require a subsidy of Rs 425 Billion.

To any planner, it should be obvious that the country cannot afford electricity produced through oil. Indigenous fuels like coal, gas, atomic will have to be developed and developed quickly. The final solution, however, lies in depending on hydroelectric renewable energy, but unfortunately, the narrow-minded bickering on the construction of dams has persuaded the planners to find an easy solution, which we cannot afford anymore.

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Since the shortage or high price of electricity has a severely detrimental effect on all sectors of the economy, the situation calls for concerted short-term, medium-term, and long-term actions to overcome the problem of energy shortage.

In the short term, the shortages have to be somehow met. The foremost immediate action which can give some relief is the conservation of energy. The government has already announced certain measures like shutting down the power on billboards, hoardings, and neon signs. Recently in Lahore supersize televisions have been installed on important traffic points. In order to keep the temperature down air conditioners are installed behind these sets.

In spite of government directions, energy-saving measures are not being implemented. Shops use excessive lights, which can be conveniently reduced.

A suggestion that cities be divided into zones, and the market on these zones be closed on different days, can also save peak time energy usage. In order to implement conservation measures, the nazims, naib na·zims should visit the areas and try to convince and negotiate with the people, shopkeepers, etc requesting them to cooperate in the overall interests. At present, the IPPs, and  WAPDA owned thermal plants are averaging about 50 percent plant factor, which means that they are not being used to their potential level, 70 to 80 percent plant factor is quite feasible; this would require better maintenance of such plants.

A higher plant factor on these power stations can provide 20 to 30 percent more energy, which will circumvent the present shortages to a certain extent. Improving the plant factor of the existing plants is far more economical than setting up new plants, although new plants will still be needed.

Mid and Long Term: The oil prices are not going to come down drastically, therefore all efforts are needed to stay away from oil. For thermal plants, only Coal and Natural Gas should be used. Vast deposits of coal exist at Thar, but it is inconceivable why the mining of this coal. has not yet started. There are a number of new gas fields discovered, but their development has been put on the back burner. again for some unknown reasons.

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Currently, the country loses 29 billion units of electricity annually due to heavy losses in the system. All efforts must be genuinely applied to reduce the losses. If losses are reduced by even 5 percent, the saving will be over 7 Billion rupees.

For hydroelectric projects, the large ones can only be built on the Indus River. where not only hydroelectricity can be produced, but highly needed water storage can also be a byproduct. Some legitimate objections to the environment and social impacts of large dams are there but solutions for such objections can be satisfactorily found.

The will of the government leaders is needed, with the present coalition partners in the center, matters can be resolved. There are a number of other attractive runs of the river hydel projects which are being offered to the Private Sector. None of these projects have yet started, because the tariff is still not finalized. With the huge losses being accumulated in thermal plants, again it is strange that the hydel projects in the private sector are not being encouraged. Under the present circumstances, a rational and market-oriented policy has to be adopted. hopefully, the present government will immediately look into this.

The current power crisis is grossly due to very high oil prices, and the country has to prepare itself at least for the next several years to somehow cope with it since no immediate cheaper alternate solutions are available. It has been a big setback that new Hyde! Projects have not been undertaken, neither the indigenous coal mining has started, investments in the existing, as well as new gas field, have been lacking. The policy orientation needs a drastic modification and indigenous resources like Hydel energy production as well as the development of coal mining and new gas fields should be the top priority.

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