This is an essay on “Energy Crisis in Pakistan” for CSS, PMS, and Judiciary Examinations. The energy crisis is the largest single drain on Pakistan’s economy. This crisis stems from a fuel mix transformation initiated two decades ago when power generation came to rely more on imported furnace oil than hydropower. The current energy crisis began to manifest itself in earnest by late 2007. So here is a complete Essay on “Energy Crisis in Pakistan” for CSS, PMS.
- Energy, demand for all fields
- Cheap ways of producing Energy
Causes of Energy Crisis
- Lack of dams
- Inability to explore coal: 6th largest coal reserves in the world
- Lack of renewable energy sources
- The problem of circular debt
- Losses in transmission and distribution
- Wastage of energy
- Domestic and household consumption
- Aging of the equipment
- Wastage of energy
- High cost of fuel
- Economic loss
- Agricultural loss
- Closure of industries
- Social issues
Energy Policy (2013-2018)
Alternative sources of Energy
- Building of darns
- Long term dams
- Medium-term dams
- Short term dams
Exploit the coal reserves
Regional gas and oil pipelines
Updating the system of transmission and distribution
Essay on “Energy Crisis in Pakistan” for CSS, PMS, Judiciary Examinations
Energy is the lifeline of a nation. The economic engine and the wheels of industry, agriculture, and business need the energy to move forward. Pakistan faces a major energy crisis in natural gas, power, and oil. Power outages usually last 10-12 hours a day in the cities and more in the rural areas. This has left the industries of Pakistan (mainly agricultural, secondary and tertiary sectors) stunned and so they are unable to fully operate.
This has a very negative impact on the economy of the country. The demand for energy in Pakistan is huge, and cannot be fulfilled by electricity production based on oil. It can only meet 20% of our requirement through native production and the remaining oil is imported from the Gulf States and other countries. No major oil, the field has been discovered in the last three decades. It is clear that other alternative production methods must be considered to meet the demand. Most likely one that is cheap, considering the initial setup cost, and costs attached.
The second method of production we use is thermal (i-e using coal to produce electricity). Pakistan has been blessed with wealthy mineral resources, but the sad part is that we are too ign0rant to explore them. We are sitting on gold mines and yet we do nothing about it. Balochistan, for instance, is rich in all sorts of minerals and could be exploited heavily. If we could solve the feudal problems of the provinces, and let the national and international companies explore the area, we might solve our fuel problems too. But this is a precious non-renewable resource, so we need better options.
Another major option is hydroelectric power generation. This is the cheapest and most feasible way of producing electricity for our country. Two major energy dams in Pakistan are Tarbela and Mangla. If only the proposed Kalabagh darn would be constructed, 80% of our energy needs would be fulfilled. The best option is to construct this dam and take advantage of the natural hydrography of Pakistan to the maximum possible extent.
Wind power and solar power generation are good alternatives as well. Their initial costs are low when compared to other methods, and are definitely in the best interests of our country.
Following are the Causes of the Energy Crisis in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, no major dam was constructed after the completion of Mangle and Terbela Dams early I980s. Though the demand for electricity was increasing many governments came and completed their terms but neither government built darns which is the cheapest source of the energy. Pakistan needs to make Kalabagh darn and Basha dams but due to politicization and lack of dedicated politicians, Pakistan is confronting with the problem of the energy crisis. Electricity from hydel cost us Rs. 2-4 rupees per unit.
Pakistan is blessed with a large amount of coal. No serious work is done to explore coal for power generation. This complains that the coal quality is inferior. However, ·ready-made solutions are available to burn any type of coal. The government is looking for the private sector to play its role. In our opinion, the government itself should come forward and install the power plants on the site of coal mines only.
The government is not producing electricity from renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, tidal, biogas, etc. Though Pakistan has maximum summers suiting for solar energy there are huge taxes which are paid while purchasing this technology. Through solar, Pakistan can produce up to 1,00,000 MW of electricity. Besides, wind energy has the potential of producing 50,000 MW of electricity but Pakistan is not producing from this cheapest source.
If serious work is done then the total shortage can be met from the Hydro and wind power sectors. It is also suggested that small loans should be provided to consumers to install small hydro and solar cells for one family usage of electricity.
One of the main reasons for the serious shortfall in the generation of thermal electricity 1s the problem of the “circular debt” which the present government inherited from the previous regime. In 2007, the government did not compensate the power companies for the subsidy that was being provided to consumers. The power companies in turn could not pay the oil and gas companies, reducing their liquidity to import the furnace oil that was needed to generate electricity.
The interim government, before the elections, in fact, forced the commercial banks to lend Rs34bn to the oil companies whose credit limits were already exhausted. This problem of “circular debt” became more serious in the summer of 2008, as petroleum prices jumped from $100 to $147 a barrel. It is really surprising that this problem has become the main cause of increasing load-shedding but has not so far been addressed on a priority basis. In 2015 the circular debt reached Rs.600 billion.
Very heavy line losses in transmission and distribution because of old and poorly maintained transmission systems, estimated at over 20 percent compared to eight to ten percent in other countries. Large-scale theft of electricity is clearly revealed by the growing difference between units generated or purchased and those paid for.
Wastage of energy by the industry consumes 30 percent of total electricity due to less efficient systems and other practices. For example, the Chinese consume 30 percent less electricity in textile mills because they use water partially heated by solar panels in their boilers. Overuse of energy by the transport sector (consuming 28 percent of total energy) due to old and poorly tuned engines.
Domestic and household consumption which uses 45 percent of total electricity also depicts wasteful and unnecessary uses of lights, air-conditioners, and large-scale illuminations on different occasions. The problems outlined above reveal many structural flaws in our energy system. These include over-dependence on imported energy, inadequate political will, limited
financial support and very weak implementation capacity.
One very important reason attributed to this energy shortage is the aging of the generating equipment which could not develop the electricity as per the design requirement. This is the responsibility to continuously updating the equipment and keeping a high standard of maintenance. we sincerely think serious thought should be given for general overhaul and maintenance of existing equipment to keep them in good working order.
So far energy conservation is concerned, newspapers pay lip service in seminars. No serious thought is being given to utilize the energy at the optimum level. A new culture needs to develop to conserve energy. Sometimes on government level illiteracy is blamed for the failure of the energy conservation program. this is not true. Maximum energy is consumed by the elite class which controls all the resources of knowledge and communication. But for their own luxury, they themselves ignore the problem. Government should seriously embark on an energy conservation program.
Following are the effects of the energy crisis in Pakistan.
Energy is pivotal for running all other resources and the crisis of energy directly influences all other sectors of the economy. The economic progress is hampered by a decline in agricultural productivity as well as by halting operations of industries. One important factor of lower GDP and inflation of commodity prices in recent years is attributed to shortfalls in energy supply. Pakistan is facing a high cost of production due to several factors like the energy crisis, the hike in electricity tariff, the increase in interest rate, devaluation of Pakistani rupee, increasing cost of inputs, political instability, removal of subsidy & internal dispute.
Above all factors increase the cost of production which decreases the exports. Exports receipts decrease from$ 10.2B to$ 9.6B. The global recession also hit badly the textile industry. Double-digit inflation also caused a decrease in production in the textile sector.
The agricultural productivity of Pakistan is decreasing due to the provision of energy for running tube wells, agricultural machinery, and the production of fertilizers and pesticides. Thus higher energy means higher agricultural productivity.
Nearly all Industrial units are run with energy and breakage in energy supply is having dire consequences on industrial growth. As a result of the decline in energy supply, industrial units are not only being opened but also the existing industrial units are gradually closing.
By the closure of industrial units and less agricultural productivity, new employment opportunities ceased to exist, and already employed manpower is shredded by the employers to increase their profit ratios. Thus energy crisis contributes to unemployment.
Pakistan’s textile industry is going through one of the toughest periods in decades. The global recession which has hit the global textile really hard is not the only cause for concern. Serious internal issues including the energy crisis affected Pakistan·s textile industry very badly. The high cost of production resulting from an instant rise in energy costs has been the primary cause of concern for the industry.
The depreciation of the Pakistani rupee during last year has significantly raised the cost of imported inputs. Furthermore, double-digit inflation and the high cost of financing have seriously affected the growth in the textile industry. Pakistan’s textile exports in turn have gone down during the last three years as exporters cannot effectively market their products since buyers are not visiting Pakistan due to adverse travel conditions and it is getting more and more difficult for the exporters to travel abroad. Pakistan’s textile industry is lacking in research &development.
The production capability is very low due to obsolete machinery and technology. This factor is primarily related to the domestic usage of energy (cooking, heating, and water provision). Load shedding causes unrest and frustration amongst the people and results in agitation against the government.
The government has finally formulated the much-awaited National Energy Policy 2013-18. Under the policy, power sector subsidy will be phased out by 2018, and load-shedding will be ended by 2017. It aims at generating surplus electricity in 2018, privatizing government-owned power plants and a few power distributing companies (Discos), bringing the double-digit cost of power generation to a single digit, and restructuring the water and power ministry.
National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA), adjustment of outstanding dues owed by public and private organizations through federal adjusters, and formation of regional transmission and power trading system. The policy comprises seven points envisions a profitable, bankable, and investment-friendly power sector which meets the nation·s needs and boosts its economy in a sustainable and affordable manner while adhering to the most efficient generation, transmission, and distribution standards.
To achieve the long-term vision of the power sector and overcome its challenges, the government has set the following goals: Build a power generation capacity that can meet the country’s energy needs in a sustainable manner; create a culture of energy conservation and responsibility; ensure generation of inexpensive and affordable electricity for domestic, commercial and industrial use; minimize pilferage and adulteration in fuel supply; promote world-class efficiency in power generation; create a c.utting edge transmission network; minimize .financial losses across the systen1, and align the ministries involved in the energy sector and improve governance.
There are Various Methods to Solve the Energy Crisis in Pakistan.
Though wind, Pakistan has potentials of wind energy ranging from 10000 MW to 50000 MW, yet power generation through wind is in initial stages in Pakistan and currently 06 MW has been installed in the first phase in Jhampir through a Turkish company and 50 MW will be installed shortly. More wind power plants will be built in Jhampir, Gharo, Keti Bandar, and Bin Qasim Karachi.
Solar power involves using solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity, using sunlight hitting solar thermal panels to convert sunlight to heat water or air. Pakistan has the potential of more than 100,000 MW from solar energy. The building of solar power plants is underway in Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan. However, private vendors are importing panels / solar water heaters for consumption in the market.
Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) is working for 20,000 solar water heaters in Gilgit Baltistan. Mobile companies have been asked by the government to shift the supply of energy to their transmission towers from petroleum to solar energy panels.
Biomass production involves using garbage or other renewable resources such as sugarcane, corn, or other vegetation to generate electricity. When garbage decomposes, methane is produced and captured in pipes and later burned to produce electricity. Vegetation and wood can be burned directly to generate energy, like fossil fuels, or processed· to form alcohols. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs from biomass/biodiesel in the world, followed by the USA. Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) of Pakistan has planned to generate 10 MW of electricity from municipal waste in Karachi followed by similar projects in twenty cities of the country.
Tidal power can be extracted from Moon-gravity-powered tides by locating a water turbine in a tidal current. The turbine can turn an electrical generator, or a gas compressor, that can then store energy until needed. Coastal tides are a source of clean, free, renewable, and sustainable energy. Plans are underway in Pakistan to harness tidal energy; however, no implementation has been made so far.
Nuclear power stations use nuclear fission reactions to generate energy by the reaction of uranium inside a nuclear reactor. Pakistan has a small nuclear power program, with 425 MW capacity, but there are plans to increase this capacity substantially. Since Pakistan is outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it is excluded from trade in nuclear plants or materials, which hinders its development of civil nuclear energy. The remaining issues in the development of nuclear energy are an enrichment of uranium from U235 to U238, controlling chain reaction, and dumping of solid waste.
Pakistan has the potential for hydro resources to generate 41000 to 45000 MW, however, only 6555 MW is currently being generated by this important renewable resource. Four large hydropower dams namely Kalabagh 3600 MW, Bhasha 4500 MW, Bunji 5400 MW, and Dasu 3800 MW can be constructed to generate hydroelectricity. Similarly, many small to medium hydro plants can be installed on rivers and canals, etc.
The longer-term solution to the energy crisis will be to restore the hydro-thermal mix to 60:40 or at least 50:50 in the next five years. The Water Accord of 1991 had o~ened the way for constructing many dams to store water and generate electricity. But the continuing controversy over the KalabaghDam became a major obstacle. Surprisingly, even many smaller and non-controversial hydroelectric projects have been delayed without any justification.
The hydel projects in the pipeline include the following: Neelurn Jhelurn (969 MW), Tarbela Fourth Extension (960 MW), SukiKinari (840 MW), Munda Dam (700 MW), Khan Dubar (130 MW), Allai (126 MW), and Jinnah Hydroelectric power project (96 MW).
Pakistan has the world’s sixth-largest reserves of coal, after the recent discoveries in Thar. The total coal reserve in Pakistan is about 175 billion tons. The current coal production is only 3.5 million tons per year, which is mostly used for the brick and cement industry. Coal has typical problems, such as a high sulfur content (it produces sulfur dioxide, the source of acid rain), mineral matter content (leading to ash and pollution problems), carbon dioxide emission (contributing to global warming), and high moisture content.
However, technologies are available to minimize all of these. Conversion technologies are currently under development to convert coal into environmentally-friendly methanol and hydrogen gas to be used as a clean fuel. The US is working on a major initiative called future gen to produce “zero-emission” power plants of the future. Thar coal can be cleaned and the sulfur reduced so that it can be burnt in conventional coal power plants and also convened into gas. Coal gasification is a slightly more expensive process, but the gas from coal is a proven and cleaner technology. The Chinese had prepared a feasibility report in 2005 to produce 3,000 MW at 5.8 cents per unit, but the project could not move forward because they were offered only 5.3 cents.
There are also many possibilities of regional cooperation in building gas and oil pipelines. These include the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline; the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline; an oil, gas, and electricity corridor from Gwadar to Western China, the import of 1,000 MW electricity from Ragun hydro station in Tajikistan for which an agreement was signed in March 1992 at the rate of 3.3 cents per unit.
The worldwide electricity production, as per the World Bank, is as follows; coal: 40 percent; gas 19 percent; nuclear 16 percent; hydro 16 percent; oil seven percent. Pakistan’s power production is gas 48 percent; hydro 33 percent; oil 16 percent; nuclear two percent, and coal 0.2 percent. There has been a global trend to shift away from oil because of its rising price expected to reach $100 a barrel by the end of this year depending on the international geopolitical situation.
Despite the lowest cost of hydroelectric power, there have been environmental, ecological, and geopolitical concerns over the building of large dams. The supply of natural gas in Pakistan has been depleting over the years, and the country is now looking at the option of imponing gas from Qatar and Central Asia. This leaves the possibility of exploring nuclear, coal, and other alternative energy sources.
Nuclear energy and coal form the lowest source of power production in Pakistan. On the other hand, the world average for nuclear energy is 16 percent and for coal 40 percent. Let us first consider these two potential sources of electric power production for Pakistan. The US obtains 20 percent of its electric power from; clear. energy with 104 reactors; France 78 percent with 59 reactors, Japan 24 percent with 54 re~tors, the UK 23 percent with 31 reactors, and so on. Even India has signed a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States to develop its nuclear capability for power generation and economic development. It has currently six reactors in operation with a capacity of 3750 MW, and another six with a capacity of 3,340 MW are under construction.
The new agreement will further boost the nuclear power generating capacity of India. Today, nuclear power plants have average capacities of 600-1,000 MW. Pakistan only produces two percent of its power through two reactors (Karachi and Chashrna at 137 MW and 300 MW respectively). Pakistan is a nuclear technologically advanced country with capabilities to produce fuel, yet falls behind most other countries, including India, in terms of nuclear power production. The US introduces 51 percent of its power using coal, Poland 96 percent, South Africa 94 percent, India 68 percent, Australia 77 percent, China 79 percent, Israel 77 percent, UK 35 percent, Japan 28 percent, while Pakistan produces only 0.2 percent of its power through coal.
In Pakistan, smaller windmills are now visible, such as the ones at Gharo, where SZABIST set up an experimental research station many years ago. The Sindh government has recently announced plans to build a 50 MW wind farm in the vicinity of the coastal region at Gharo. Solar power (photovoltaic or thermal) is another alternative energy source option that is generally considered feasible for tropical and equatorial countries. Even though the accepted standard is 1,000 W/m2 of peak power at sea level, an average solar panel (or photovoltaic – PV – panel), delivers an average of only 19- 56W/m2. Solar plants are generally used in cases where smaller amounts of power are required at remote locations. PV is also the most expensive of all options making it less attractive.
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