Decisive shift to energy mix may lead to sustainable growth: Sartaj

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ISLAMABAD, Sept 12 (APP): Deputy Chairman Planning Commission
Sartaj Aziz Tuesday said the government’s decisive shift from costly
thermal power resource to energy mix, would lead to sustainable high
economic growth in the country.
“The government is fully focussing on production of energy
from various sources including renewable solar, hydro, and wind
energy besides LNG and coal-based power projects to overcome the
ongoing energy crisis in the country”, Sartaj Aziz said while
addressing as chief guest at the International Conference on
Sustainable Energy Technologies here.
Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan has been suffering from a
multi-dimensional energy crisis in the past decade. Power
shortages coupled with high cost of electricity have had a very
negative impact on the economy and on the lives of the people.
While new investments were discouraged by the difficult
security situation, production from existing capacity was
seriously affected by electricity and gas load shedding. As a
result, the growth rate had slowed down to an average of 3%
between 2006 to 2013.
Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz said that the most important
thrust of this effort was the CPEC energy package to add 17000
MW to the existing installed capacity of about 20000 MW.
Of this about half is in the Early Harvest portfolio which will become operational before the end of 2018, he added.
The Deputy Chairman said that the most of power projects under CPEC are in PPP mode, involving an investment of over $ 30 billion by Chinese companies. Pakistan will buy the electricity at upfront announced prices and will not thus add to it debt burden.
He said that in addition to CPEC energy projects, several other projects are being undertaken to add 3000 MW to the system.
On energy crisis, Deputy Chairman said simultaneously attention is being paid to transmission and distribution.
During the year 2016-17 the NTDC transmission has been enhanced
by adding 3,000 MVA and 2,400 MVA on 500 KV and 220 KV systems
respectively. The transmission lines were extended by 87 Km.
To enhance the transmission capacity during 2017-18, about
1,200 MVA of 500 KV and 3,000 MVA of 220 KV will be installed
along with 1,853 km of 500 KV and 809 Km of 220 kV of transmission
With these projects, the immediate problem of energy shortage
will be resolved but the challenge of many other structural issues
remains to be addressed specially the energy mix. Currently the
share of thermal capacity based on imported oil is almost 40
percent. Even after, the recent decline in oil prices, electricity
generated from imported furnace oil or diesel is Rs.15-17 per unit.
Since the average sale price is Rs. 9 per unit, this heavy
dependence on imported energy is the main cause of the problem of
circular debt. “We need a decisive shift to indigenous resources to
reduce dependence on imported energy.”
He said that as emphasized in Vision 2025 an optimum
sustainable energy mix has to be evolved with reference to
indigenous source, economic feasibility and environmental
Two important upcoming hydel projects i.e. Dasu and Daimer
Bhasha will help to improve the energy mix to a considerable
Import of LNG has also helped to alleviate the shortage
of gas in the country
The Deputy Chairman Planning Commission said that another
major challenge is energy efficiency and conservation through
larger investment and improved technologies. Simple and sensible
steps to ensure energy efficiency and conservation will save money,
reduce energy demand and curb CO2 emissions.
For this purpose, he said the government is encouraging the
use of energy efficient air conditioners, energy efficient lights
(LEDs), and solar water heaters while seeking improvement in
transmission and distribution system to reduce line losses and
theft. The contribution of renewable energy from solar and wind
is at present less than 1%.
But with drastic reduction in prices, prospects of solar
energy are improving. Solar power is already competitive vis-…-vis
diesel-based captive power generation. Irrigation pumps are being
converted to solar in private and public sectors.
He said rooftop electricity generation, both in residential,
industrial and commercial sectors will become more significant
after 2020. Small off grid solar units are also spreading rapidly
in rural areas through the private sector.