The current situation in Pakistan concerning energy has been brought to my attention by one of our readers, Pakistani-American Oil and Gas Consultant Mr Raza Mehkeri. He has supplied my with some resources and I as I looked into the issue, I find it is worth a blog article to share.
Pakistan is able to meet 75% of its energy needs through domestic resources, mainly oil, and gas and hydroelectricity production. Even though the county is blessed with energy resources, only 78% of its urban population and 46% of rural people have access to electricity (2008).
Pakistan’s power crisis has led to an acute electricity shortfall and unannounced power cuts of up to 12 hours in many areas of the country. Access to clean and reliable energy is the key for the stability and prosperity of Pakistan; the fact that production units keep on shutting contributes to unemployment and in turn to street crime and violence.
Mercer’s latest study places safety in Pakistan just before the Iraq which traditionally occupies the last position.
Pakistan’s energy infrastructure is under-developed and insufficient. Problems in Pakistan today are rooted in some distinct causes, including lack of Integrated Energy Planning and Demand Forecasting and the absence of central and focused entity responsibility for energy sector as well as an imbalanced energy mix. Ultimately, Pakistan’s energy sector has negatively impacted the social and economic development of the country. Despite strong economic growth during the past decade and consequent rising demand for energy, little has been done to install new capacity for generation of the required energy sources.
Demand exceeds supply and hence load-shedding is a common phenomenon. Concepts to tackle the energy shortages exist; future energy policies would have to rely on domestic resources; ideally with a heavy focus on solar power, hydro projects, wind turbines, biogas and even furnace oil. Coal reserved and nuclear power are also discussed but those options are either dirty or dangerous and slow to implement. Furnace oil powerplants are set suited in Karachi where the port and refinery facilities are available; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could explore medium, small hydro and micro hydro projects. Pakistan lies in a region of high solar radiation, and has considerable potential for geothermal energy (up to 80,000 MW) as there are numerous fumaroles and hot springs. There is dire need to install Wind Turbines on the coastal belt. Pakistan has a large potential to develop wind power. The “wind corridor” in the coastal area of Sindh alone has the capacity to generate about 50,000MW. There are also coal reserves in the Sindh area.
This is why it is very important that the Government continues to provide incentives to private investors in the form of an attractive tariff and finally ensure safe and reliable access to energy for all.