ISLAMABAD – Energy experts in a seminar at Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, have emphasized the need for focusing on indigenous resources for power generation to solve the energy crisis in Pakistan.
The seminar titled, ‘Towards an Ideal Fuel Mix for Pakistan: Streamlining the Priorities’ was addressed by Mirza Hamid Hassan, former Secretary Water & Power and Chairman IPS Tawanai (energy) Programme, Dr Muhammad Bilal Khan, Principal, Centre for Energy Systems, National University of Science & Technology, Hammad Hashmi, Technical Advisor, USAID, and Ameena Sohail, IPS Associate and energy lawyer. A number of energy experts and concerned government functionaries participated in the session.
Dr. Bilal stressed on enhancing efficiency for optimum usage of power plants the country already possess before the installation of new ones. He mentioned that the current capacity of installed power plants in Pakistan was 21000 megawatt while the peak consumption was around 14000 megawatts, however due to mismanagement, lack of maintenance and issues related to circular debt the capacity has never been fully utilized. He feared that if governance issues were not resolved all new projects being installed by the present government will meet the similar fate as that of the existing ones as issues of maintenance, protocols, and energy waste management still persist.
“Energizing our own reserves and exploiting them optimally is the only way out”, the professor added while referring to a recently study conducted jointly by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC), according to which more than 360 million barrels of explored oil was still waiting to be extracted.
He also advocated for exploiting the immense indigenous potential of ethanol, bio-diesel and coal-to-diesel conversion. National University of Science and Technology (NUST), according to him, had already taken an initiative by installing the first plant in Pakistan, which has successfully started converting coal into diesel a few weeks ago.
Mirza Hamid Hasan in his concluding remarks that an ideal fuel mix for any country would depend on its own indigenous capacity and natural resources. He backed the idea of investing on hydel resources, shrugging off the misconception that this is an expensive option. The large dams, he said, were multipurpose, designed primarily for the storage of water and having electricity as its byproduct, making it a very economical solution in the end.