Energy Consumption and Generation Gap Over the Years in Pakistan

Over the last decade, Pakistan experienced a change in its energy situation. There was a dreadful crisis in the early years of the decade with the improvement observed towards the end. However, all the problems of the decade relating to energy were not introduced due to the paucity of generation capabilities. It would be startling to know for many, that the energy production capabilities of Pakistan have always been ‘in sync’ with the demand. The world’s energy production capabilities, however, can be misleading as it does not ensure that that the energy produced reaches its consumers.

Production capacities of different resources used to generate energy in Pakistan
Source: IRA-International Journal of Technology & Engineering

The table above provides the energy generation capabilities from major plants of Pakistan. The total generation is roughly over 22000 MW. The demand for the year 2016 however was 16000 MW. This raises the question, why, then did many areas experience hours-long load shedding? The are several reasons that contributed to this issue.

Increasingly High Distribution Cost

The distribution costs of electricity are more than that can be met. These costs are further increased because the transmission network is in such a poor working order that intense weather conditions affect them. This makes it very difficult to keep sustained electricity flow to areas prone to extreme weather conditions.

Power Theft

The distribution costs of electricity are more than that can be met. These costs are further increased because The rate of energy theft rises as the kilowatt-hour (per unit) charges rise. This contributes to transmission losses, which have adverse economic effects. This is the major factor that leads to a shortage of electricity in the country, and it directly impacts the country’s economy as well. Consider a 100-unit generation, with 22 of them representing projected transmission and distribution losses. If another 18 units are stolen because of theft, the government will only be left with a bill of 70 units. If the income earned per unit is 6 PKR, then the total revenue generated on 100 units after all losses can be approximated easily. It is roughly 60%. This means that the country has a clear deficit of 40%. The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) bought 98342 GWh (Giga Watt-hour) of electricity for transmission to DISCOs in 2013, however, DISCOs only received payment for 75926 GWh from consumers. This imbalance implies that power theft is widespread across the country.

Lack of Technical Staff in Decision

The distribution costs of electricity are more than that can be met. These costs are further increased because the transmission network is in such a poor working order that intense weather conditions affect them. This makes it very difficult to keep sustained electricity flow to areas prone to extreme weather conditions. The decision-making officials in Pakistan are unaware of electrical analytical techniques, neither are they aware of the complexities, nor are they well-educated to comprehend them. This poses a serious issue in these circumstances. As a result, instead of avoiding a problem, the situation is heading toward correcting difficulties as they continue to arise.

Seasonal Fluctuations

Seasonal changes have a greater impact on hydel power plants. The water level is affected by climatic variations. According to WAPDA officials, Pakistan has three major resources of electrical energy generation, with hydel energy coming in second with 6,654 MW, accounting for 31% of total power generation. According to WAPDA, depending on river flow, this product ranges from 2,414 MW to 6,761 MW. This wide range makes it even more difficult to meet energy demands depending on Hydel power.

Instabilities in legislation

The distribution costs of electricity are more than that can be met. These costs are further increased because the transmission network is in such a poor working order that intense weather conditions affect them. This makes it very difficult to keep sustained electricity flow to areas prone to eAs governments change, they confiscate all the former government’s projects, effectively halting them. This instability is a major barrier to the development of new projects. Sometimes, even the operation of old existing projects becomes extremely difficult creating a widening gap between demand and consumption.

Conclusion

All hope is not lost. These energy deficiencies are projected to narrow down between the years 2020-2022 as shown in the figure above due to the improved policies as well as the advent of CPEC projects. In April 2019, it was projected that by 2030, renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, and biomass will account for 30% of Pakistan’s energy capacity. Pakistan could generate 340 GW of wind power on its own, as per estimates. As a result of this plan, hydropower will account for slightly more than 30% of Pakistan’s energy mix. Pakistan has the capacity to generate 60,000 MW of hydropower, according to the International Hydropower Association, however, it produces 7000 MW only. Therefore, the prospect of Pakistan’s energy management looks bright but there is also a danger of the generation capabilities falling behind with so many new industries emerging, and the country will have to catch up to that before the crisis becomes like that of 2010-2016.

Energy supply and demand visual in Pakistan for a period of 20 years
Source: energypedia.info

Author: Muhammad Imadullah and Abdullah Salik | Team Documentation

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