Energy is considered to be the lifeline of any economy and the most vital instrument of socioeconomic development of a country. There has been an enormous increase in the demand of energy as a result of industrial development and population growth, in comparison to enhancement in energy production. Supply of energy is, therefore, far less than the actual demand, resultantly crisis has emerged.
An energy crisis can be defined as any great bottleneck in the supply of energy resources to an economy.
We are the real ‘God gifted nation’ bestowed with every blessing but unfortunately have failed to drag ourselves into the list of developed countries. Pakistan’s energy infrastructure is not well-developed, rather it is considered to be underdeveloped and poorly managed. Currently the country is facing a severe energy crisis. Despite of strong economic growth and rising energy demand during past decade, no serious efforts have been made to increase the capacity of generation. Moreover, rapid demand growth, transmission losses due to outdated infrastructure, power theft and seasonal reductions in the availability of hydropower have worsened the situation.
Consequently, the demand exceeds supply and hence load-shedding is a common phenomenon through power shutdown. Pakistan needs around 15,000 to 20,000 MW electricity per day, however, currently it is able to produce only about 11,500 MW per day, hence there is a shortfall of about 4000 to 9000 MW per day. This shortage is badly hampering the economic growth of the country. Pakistan has a rich resource of energy in the form of hydal power, however, only 34% of total electricity generation is coming from hydropower.
Currently we have 6555 MW against the potential of 41000 to 45000 MW.
“There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance.”
(R. Buckminster Fuller)
Over the years there has emerged a greater need of energy because of increase in population, enhancement in lifestyle, industrial and agricultural growth and greater transportation needs. Pakistan has had wider potentials to tap energy, however, due to lack of any proactive planning, very small number of power-producing plants was installed to meet futuristic demands. Resultantly, over the years, the gap between energy demand and supply drastically grew and now against demand of 20000 MW, we are having around 11500 MW.
Declination in economic growth, lower agricultural productivity, unemployment and shackling industrial growth result in increased poverty. Currently, around forty percent of our population is living below the poverty line and this ratio is increasing day by day. Ample control of energy crisis will surely yield in curbing the menace of poverty. Because of closure of industrial units and low agricultural productivity, new employment opportunities ceased to exist and the already employed manpower was shredded by the employers to increase their profit ratios. Thus energy crisis contributes towards unemployment and poverty.
“If all the ineffective ideas for solving the energy crisis were laid end to end, they would reach to the moon and back.”
(David J. C. MacKay)
Pakistan’s energy consumption is met by mix of gas, oil, electricity, coal and LPG sources with different levels of shares. Share of gas consumption stood at 43.7%, followed by oil 29.0 percent, electricity 15.3 percent, coal 10.4 percent and LPG 1.5 percent. We can generate energy by petroleum products, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric power plants, windmills, solar power plants, tidal waves and nuclear energy. Pakistan is has of the largest coal fields in Thar, having reserves of more than 175 billion tuns. In addition to power generation, this coal can be used for chemical and fertilizer production. Moreover, employment provided to workforce can be instrumental in increasing GDP and providing economic prosperity to many families.
Pakistan has enough hydroelectric resources to generate 41000 to 45000 MW, however, only 6555 MW is currently being generated by this important renewable resource. Four large hydroelectric power 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 hydroelectric power plants can be installed on rivers and canals etc.
Energy Crisis has, more or less, plagued all sectors of Pakistan’s machinery ranging from economy to industry, agriculture to social life, inflation to poverty and it is hampering national progress in a drastic manner. Nonetheless, the menace of energy crisis can be overwhelmed by government through effective policies and their proactive implementation.
Simultaneously, it is the our responsibility, of the people of Pakistan, to utilize the available energy astutely and wisely to play our due role in the progress of the country.
Written by: Syed Ali Asghar