Energy crisis, causes & remedies

Shanzeh Iqbal discusses the energy crisis of Pakistan on Pakobserver.net

Pakistan has been suffering from an energy crisis for about half a decade now. The power crisis is proving to be unbearable. The sad state of affairs is that despite having enormous renewable resources of energy, Pakistan has to import a huge amount of hydrocarbons from abroad to meet its energy needs. As recently as 2001, the country had 4,000 megawatts of excess power capacity. Today unfortunately the situation has gained threatening prospects. According to a research most of the high enthalpy geothermal resources of the world lie within the seismic belts passing through Pakistan. Pakistan has a history of geotectonic events. Tectonic plates are segments of earth’s lithosphere, hard rocky outer shell. Hence this geothermal energy can be exploited in a better sense of the term. The major resources of energy are oil, gas, petroleum products, coal, nuclear, solar, biomass and wind energy.

Let us chalk out the reasons for shortage of energy. Lopsided priorities, poor management and lack of accountability can be denoted as the reasons for dearth of energy in Pakistan. The number of consumers of electricity are now increased owing to the rapid urbanization process. The facility of electricity is now provided to the remote villages. We waste a lot of energy, about 15 to 20 percent through poor distribution system. Industrial, transport and domestic sectors are the three important consumers of energy. It is assumed that a misplaced use of energy is rampant in industries which need to be curtailed.

Few years back Pakistan used to get half of its electricity from hydel power and remaining from thermal generation. However there is a limit to the extent of exploitation of hydel resources and thermal power plants due to environmental and other concerns. Modalities for overcoming the energy crisis are multifold. To meet the challenge there is a dire need to go to the alternate sources of energy. Some people suggest that process of converting coal into product gas underground can be a good alternate source of energy. Technically this process is called as underground coal classification. Through this the underground deposit of coal is treated with controlled fire. Gradually the coal turns into gas. The largest coal reserves of Pakistan exist in Thar. There this source can be encashed.

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