February 12, 2008 (The International News) – A household can lit a candle or an emergency light to illuminate the house, but it does not work for the industry, as it requires uninterrupted power supply. Industry is facing a production loss due to current power crisis.
Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) President Shaikh Fazal Jaleel told The News that there was 50 per cent decline in production due to power breakdowns. When asked whom he considered the biggest enemy of investors in Pakistan; the so-called terrorism or energy crises; “energy crises,” he said.
A large number of industrialists in Karachi are generating their own electricity due to recurrent power breakdowns. Country is going through the worst energy crisis both at the domestic and the industrial level, but no measures have yet been adopted. Experts call it lack of policies and not the potential.
Pakistan has mostly been focusing on hydroelectric power generation ignoring other potential areas including coal, solar and wind. The policy makers have been focusing over construction of Kalabagh dam, which has proved to be the most controversial water project in this country, as people of the three provinces Sindh; the NWFP and Balochistan have repeatedly rejected this project.
According to the Energy Information Administration, Pakistan is among countries that fully depend on hydroelectric power generation. Pakistan’s total hydroelectric power consumption in 2005 was 30.55 billion kilowatts against 22.23 billion kw in 1998. During the first few years of the military coup the energy consumption and generation went down. In 2000 and 2001 it was recorded at 17.02 and 18.75 billion kilowatts respectively.
Nepal, having much potential in hydroelectric generation used only 2.39 billion kilowatts in 2005. Indonesia more populated than Pakistan, used 10.65 billion kilowatts and Malaysia only 5.73 billion kilowatts of hydroelectric energy in 2005. United Kingdom used only 4.46 billion kilowatts of energy in 2006.
Pakistan despite of having nuclear capability did not match other nuclear states in power generation. Its nuclear power generation remained at only 2.55 billion kilowatt-hours in 2006 against India’s 15.59 billion kilowatts. The US, France, Japan, Germany and Russia are leaders in the nuclear energy consumption.
The United States generated more than three times of Pakistan’s total energy from alternate sources like the geothermal, wood, wind, solar and waste electric power. Pakistan contributes zero percent in this category. India used 7.68 billion kilowatts of alternate energy in 2005. Indonesia generated 6.27 billion kilowatts energy.
Dr Suleman Shaikh, Secretary Board of Trustees Szabist who supervised Szabist Renewable Energy Research Centre at Gharo told The News that the country had potential of generating 3000 megawatts through wind alone from Gharo to Badin.
He said since Szabist did the research only, it could not afford the equipment, as it was not focusing on commercial basis. However, he called solar energy a very much sustainable way of power generation.
Pakistan does not make solar cells. China is producing the cheapest solar cells in the region followed by India. Generally in Pakistan but particularly in Sindh sun shines between 6 to 8 hours daily. In Sindh, there is occasional rainfall, so the solar energy can be used effectively, said Shaikh.
India has been using solar energy in Rajhistan. In Sindh, at smaller level solar energy has also been generated in Thar. It can be replicated; he said.”Once you put up the system, then there is no running cost. You can conserve it in batteries. Technology is available,” Shaikh said.
He said the coal at Soonda Thatta and Thar could be the biggest and the cheapest source of energy but it would end the monopoly of Wapda. At policy level they prefer hydropower, as dams could be controlled for other purposes. Hydropower is not sustainable source of energy, water depends on seasons and rainfall. The dam would be developed in 7 to 10 years while coal project would generate power in 2 years only, he said.