Ed­i­tor’s Desk

Enterprise - - Contents -

En­ergy is con­sid­ered to be the life­line of any econ­omy and the most vi­tal in­stru­ment of so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment. There has been an enor­mous in­crease in the de­mand of en­ergy in Pak­istan as a re­sult of in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment and pop­u­la­tion growth in com­par­i­son to en­hance­ment in en­ergy pro­duc­tion. But the sup­ply of en­ergy has been far less than the ac­tual de­mand, lead­ing to the cur­rent cri­sis. Pak­istan’s en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture is not well de­vel­oped at all. Cur­rently the coun­try is fac­ing a se­vere en­ergy cri­sis, de­spite en­cour­ag­ing eco­nomic growth. There has been ris­ing en­ergy de­mand over the past decade but no se­ri­ous ef­forts have been made to in­stall the re­quired new gen­er­a­tion sources. 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 through­out the year.

Pak­istan needs around 15,000 to 20000 MW elec­tric­ity per day. How­ever, cur­rently it is able to pro­duce 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’s en­ergy con­sump­tion is met through a mix of gas, oil, elec­tric­ity, coal and LPG sources with dif­fer­ent lev­els of share. The com­po­nent of gas con­sump­tion stands at 43.7 %, fol­lowed by oil 29.0 per­cent, elec­tric­ity 15.3 per­cent, coal 10.4 per­cent and LPG 1.5 per­cent. Over the years there is greater need of en­ergy be­cause of in­crease in pop­u­la­tion, en­hance­ment in life­style, in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural growth and greater trans­porta­tion needs. En­ergy mix in Pak­istan is quite im­bal­anced in com­par­i­son to other coun­tries and there is greater re­liance on non-re­new­able re­sources. A ra­tio­nal en­ergy mix plan­ning should be de­vel­oped with greater de­pen­dence on re­new­able (hy­del power), in­dige­nous (coal) and al­ter­na­tive en­ergy re­sources (wind and so­lar en­ergy). Pak­istan has one of the world’s largest coal­fields in Thar, with re­serves of more than 175 bil­lion tones, which ex­ceeds equiv­a­lent oil re­serves of Saudi Ara­bia, Iran, etc. In ad­di­tion to power gen­er­a­tion, this coal can be used for chem­i­cal and fer­til­izer pro­duc­tion. More­over, em­ploy­ment pro­vided to the work­force can be in­stru­men­tal in in­creas­ing GDP and eco­nomic pros­per­ity. Pak­istan has po­ten­tial of hy­dro re­sources to gen­er­ate 41000 to 45000 MW. Four more large hy­dro power dams, namely Kal­abagh 3600 MW, Bhasha 4500 MW, Bunji 5400 MW and Dasu 3800 MW can be con­structed to add to the coun­try’s hy­dro elec­tric­ity out­put. Many small to medium hy­dro plants can also be in­stalled on rivers and canals.

En­ergy is piv­otal to run­ning of the econ­omy as it di­rectly in­flu­ences all other sec­tors. The eco­nomic progress is ham­pered by de­cline in agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity as well as by halt in op­er­a­tions of in­dus­tries. One im­por­tant fac­tor of lower GDP and in­fla­tion of com­mod­ity prices in re­cent years is at­trib­uted to short­falls in en­ergy sup­ply. Agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity oin Pak­istan is also de­creas­ing due to non­pro­vi­sion of en­ergy for run­ning tube wells, agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery and pro­duc­tion of fer­til­iz­ers and pes­ti­cides. Thus higher en­ergy out­put means higher agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity. All in­dus­trial units are run with en­ergy and break in en­ergy sup­ply has dire con­se­quences on in­dus­trial growth. As a re­sult of de­cline in en­ergy sup­ply, new in­dus­trial units are not be­ing opened and the ex­ist­ing units are grad­u­ally clos­ing. As a re­sult of clo­sure of in­dus­trial units and less agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity, new em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties have ceased to ex­ist while em­ployed man­power is be­ing shred­ded by the em­ploy­ers to in­crease their profit ra­tios. Thus the en­ergy cri­sis con­trib­utes to­wards a de­cline in key eco­nomic sec­tors and needs to be ar­rested be­fore things get too far. The en­ergy cri­sis has plagued all sec­tors of the econ­omy and is ham­per­ing na­tional progress in a dras­tic man­ner. Nonethe­less, the men­ace of the en­ergy cri­sis can be con­trolled by the gov­ern­ment through ef­fec­tive poli­cies and proac­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion. Simultaneously, it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the peo­ple to uti­lize avail­able en­ergy as­tutely and wisely.

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