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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Is Pakistan producing surplus electricity?

According to the former ICCI President, Pakistan seems to be producing more electricity than needed. However, most of the country continuos to face load shedding.

Former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Shahid Rasheed confirmed that eighteen new power plants will start production by 2023. This will boost overall electricity production to 38000 megawatts.

In the summer season the surplus electricity will be 13000 megawatts while winters will see surplus power production by 26000 megawatts resulting in an unprecedented burden on the masses, he said.

According to Shahid Rasheed, the country is producing more electricity than needed. Despite the surplus in electricity production, more than 50 million people have no access to electricity and almost every area in Pakistan still faces load shedding.

Read more: Coal makes up for 32pc of total power generation in January

Load shedding despite the electric surplus

The surplus power does not prevent load shedding as millions are still not connected to the national grid due to poor transmission and distribution system.

In a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, more than 32,500 villages in Pakistan live a long way from the national grid.

The former ICCI President stated that power production is increasing rapidly, but its consumption is decreasing due to repeated tariff hike that can leave the power sector bankrupt if consumption was not increased.

Read more: NEPRA approves an increase in electricity prices

Currently, the Government is spending an unnecessary Rs. 850 billion in capacity payments but it is yet to come with a proper plan to boost consumption.

He said that eighteen coal, wind, solar and hydropower plants will soon start providing thousands of megawatt electricity to the national grid which is not needed but the government will have to pay them billions in the capacity payments as per the agreements.

However, according to an announcement made by PM Imran Khan at the Climate Ambition Summit 2020, Pakistan has decided to abandon plans to build 27GW of coal power plants between 2030 and 2047 and will invest in renewable energy instead.

Read more: PM Imran Khan in 10 ‘chosen’ leaders to address UN Climate Ambition Summit

PM Imran Khan also added that by 2030, 60 per cent of all energy produced in Pakistan will be from clean energy, renewables, and also 30 per cent of all vehicles will be powered by electricity.

While it is a commendable effort by the PM in a bid to protect the environment, the statement was met with scepticism.

“Khan’s statement was really confusing for many of us,” said Najam ul Hassan Farooqi, a Pakistan based energy consultant. He further added that Pakistan’s carbon footprint is very small and we need to use our indigenous coal to bring down the cost of electricity.

Read more: Punjab govt to run BHUs on solar energy