Tackling energy crisis: need to utilise all available resources stressed

September 5, 2012

While stressing the need for utilising available resources to deal with the looming energy crisis, speakers at a conference expressed dismay over the fact that the government had failed to make the most of these resources.

Speaking at the First Coal Fueled Power Generation Conference – 2012 organised by Attock Gen Limited (AGL) here on Tuesday, they said coal is fuelling more than 50 percent of power generation in the neighbouring countries China and India and 40 percent world-wide, but less than 1 percent in Pakistan in spite of being blessed with huge resources, as more than 175 billion tons in “Thar” only.

“The prolonged and unscheduled power outages is resulting in poor economic growth, causing a loss of approximately Rs 300 billion to GDP, 700,000 jobs and great increase in import bill, which made lives of Pakistanis miserable that is why they are on roads and streets daily,” Mohammed Imran an coal expert said.

The conference was attended by senior government officials, experts from diverse fields of energy sector and industry. The aim of the conference was to develop understanding of investor’s needs by all levels of decision makers and to provide meaningful networking opportunities with leading industry leaders and policy makers in Pakistan regarding use of coal as fuel in power generation.

Adil Khattak, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Attock Group while highlighting the significance of coal fueled power generation in Pakistan said that Pakistan today is faced with crippling energy crisis resulting in slashing of GDP growth by 2-3%.

He added that transformation of the energy mix for power generation from hydel rich to thermal over the last three decades and decreasing indigenous natural gas availability has resulted in overwhelming dependence on expensive imported furnace oil.

He warned that the power demand/supply gap which is currently 6000 MW is likely to double in near future, if the government did not take serious steps. He emphasised on the need for accelerating the efforts for the development of indigenous and cheaper energy resources.

Dr Mohammed Ishfaq Khattak a coal expert said that in the United States 56 percent of total power generation is coal base for which nearly one billion ton of coal is being moved every year, adding that China’s coal production is double that of the US as China is utilising one-third of global coal. He maintained China was building the equivalent of the two 500 Megawatts coal fired electricity plants every week.

Although coal based power generation in Pakistan was neglected in the past, but coal has lately shot up to dominate majority of energy related discussions and debates in the country. Investors and project developers today are looking at policy makers, scientists and technologists for providing conducive environment supported by attractive incentives, reliable, efficient, safe and cost effective solutions for coal based power generation, he said.

He urged the participants to make the most of the truly unique opportunity by committing to engage in an open and honest dialogue with a sole purpose of supporting and providing sustainable and efficient solutions to problems confronting coal energy projects for the bright future that Pakistan deserves.

During the one day conference, 10 papers were read with topics ranging from an overview of coal consumption in Pakistan, efficient transportation of coal to power plants, production of high quality motor fuel from syngas, government policy/risk coverage/regulatory regime for coal based projects, utilisation of indigenous coal for power generation, coal vs. pet coke and other fossil fuels for power generation, coal – the present solution for Pakistan, engineering technologies for power generation based on high pressure coal fired boilers, coal power plants and use of steam turbines, and transforming existing challenges to opportunities.