Mishandled energy

September 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

Mishandled energy

Posted on 2013-09-18 09:01:12

Shan Ul Haq Joseph
Dignity of any country depends upon its working power. The more people work, more they earn, more they earn their standard of living improves which makes country sovereign because stable economy provides opportunity for the employment. This all depends upon the overall energy resources the country has. Energy is now the talk of town in Pakistan.
Starting from house wives, traders, businessmen, students, ministers all the victims of the shortage of energy. Everybody now became the expert of energy and all the figures are on finger tips. Pakistan\’s electricity shortfall reached its peak as the difference in the supply and demand of power hit 8,500 MW. Currently, 4252 MW, 1300 MW and 4643 MW of electricity are produced with hydel, thermal and private producers respectively. Most of the people in the country think that energy crisis that Pakistan is facing is due to the poor management.
Pakistan is in the grip of a serious energy crisis that is affecting all sectors of the economy and the various segments of the society. As the situation stands to-day, there are hardly any immediate solutions to resolve the issue. A change of attitude and a change of life style is needed at the national level which should be triggered by the ruling elite and followed by all segments of the society that have access to electricity. At best there could be some short and long-term solutions to the crisis but they need immediate planning and execution with an enormous investment. Pakistan has been facing energy crisis since five years which had badly affected and destroyed industrial and economical sector that lead to unemployment. So as the situation stands today, despite having significant reserves of coal, natural gas and hydropower generation, three are hardly any immediate solution to resolve this issue. The major reasons which have led to energy crisis are poor management, circular debt, corruption, misallocation of resources, increasing price of oil in international market and in past no efforts were mace to cope with the coming shortage of electricity. In Pakistan there are enough resources from which government can develop electricity, like natural gas exploration, solar energy, wind energy and coal. An electricity shortage is felt most by those who depend on electricity for heating, cooking, and water supply. In these circumstances, a sustained energy crisis may become a humanitarian crisis.
If an energy shortage is prolonged a crisis management phase is enforced by authorities. Energy audits may be conducted to monitor usage. Various curfews with the intention of increasing energy conservation may be initiated to reduce consumption. To conserve power during the Central Asia energy crisis, authorities in Tajikistan ordered bars and cafes to operate by candlelight. \”Crisis Looms as Bitter Cold, Blackouts Hit Tajikistan\”. Warnings issued that peak demand power supply might not be sustained. In the worst kind of energy crisis energy rationing and fuel rationing may be incurred. Panic buying may beset outlets as awareness of shortages spread. Facilities close down to save on heating oil; and factories cut production and lay off workers. The risk of stagflation increases. Pakistan is mired in an acute energy crisis–one with immense implications for both the nation\’s floundering economy and its volatile security situation. According to some estimates, energy shortages have cost the country up to 5% of GDP over the past few years.
They have also forced the closure of hundreds of factories (including more than five hundred alone in the industrial hub city of Faisalabad), paralyzing production and exacerbating unemployment. Additionally, they imperil much-needed investments in development and infrastructure. Meanwhile, the nation has been convulsed by energy riots.
Protestors, angered by unscheduled outages, have often resorted to violence. They have blocked roads and attacked the homes and offices of the political workers. Significantly, in February 2013 Pakistan\’s minister for water and power warned that the energy crisis has become a national security issue. For all these reasons, energy poses one of Pakistan\’s most critical challenges. Resolving this crisis will require far more than power-generation expansion and other supply-side quick fixes, the de facto policy of the country\’s political leadership. Pakistan\’s energy problems are deep and complex, and are rooted more in shortages of governance and political will than of pure supply. If the nation is to overcome this crisis, it will need to begin with whole-scale institutional energy sector reform–a politically unwelcome, yet utterly essential, prerequisite for energy relief. Necessary reforms can then follow. The success of such efforts, however, will hinge on the existence of leaders willing to prioritize long-term national development and well-being over short-term political considerations. With this in mind, it is important to emphasize that Pakistan\’s current energy quandary is rooted in paucities that go well beyond those of power supply. In fact, Pakistan is blessed with ample indigenous energy resources; it is especially rich in natural gas, hydroelectricity, and coal. However, in the case of the two most utilized sources of energy–oil and gas–consumption levels are so high that these domestic resources are being rapidly depleted. Pakistan\’s national oil and gas company, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL), predicts indigenous oil reserves will be exhausted by 2025, and that Pakistan will run out of domestic sources of natural gas by 2030. Meanwhile, hydroelectricity supply is imperiled by climate change, with less rainfall reducing river flows. Pakistan announced a national energy plan in 2010, though it was dominated by much-mocked–and likely ignored–conservation measures, such as bans on all-night wedding parties and neon billboards, along with the required early closures of street markets. (A more realistic \\demand-management strategy, announced three years back by the Asian Development Bank, calls for the distribution of twenty million low-energy light bulbs.) Other well-intentioned initiatives have likewise not produced results. Pakistan has established the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), charged with ensuring fair energy competition and consumer protection, but political interference undermines its autonomy and effectiveness. Tariff decisions must be approved by Islamabad, and NEPRA\’s four members are all selected by the government. Furthermore, government officials have been known to outright ignore the body\’s decisions.
Encouragingly, Pakistan is also starting to explore other alternative energy sources. Officials have said several small-scale wind projects are under construction. The government has also announced that by 2030 it plans to have a minimum of 5.0% of total commercial energy supply provided by wind, solar, and bio-waste, and that 2.5% of Pakistan\’s overall energy generation will come from renewable. Islamabad claims that by 2030 about 5,500 MW of Pakistan\’s projected 160,000-MW daily energy requirement, will come from alternative and renewable sources. These are admittedly ambitious goals, given the miniscule role renewable play in the current energy mix. Ultimately, it is the issue of implementation that prolongs Pakistan\’s energy crisis, making many experts pessimistic that the crisis can be resolved anytime soon.
There is no shortage of research, conferences, and proposals offering policy solutions. This has long been the case at both federal and provincial levels, as well as with different political parties. Then, as now, few efforts were made to strengthen energy governance or reform the energy pricing system. Tellingly, even in the rare cases when the government enacts politically risky measures to strengthen the energy sector and overall economy, it often reverses course. In 2011, for example, Islamabad repealed an increase in fuel prices–instituted to raise desperately needed revenue–after a key coalition partner had withdrawn from the government to protest this price hike. To improve the economy the officials need to take vital steps immediately by overcoming all the mismanagement because stable economy with high employment rate ensures the bright future of generations.
The writer is the student of BS Economics in Peshawar University.

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