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Energy mix: PML-N asked to focus attention on hydropower

Hydroelectric power is the best way to produce cheap electricity and Pakistan has the potential to produce more than 100,000 megawatts from this source as sites have been identified for construction of dams and generation of electricity, says the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In a statement issued on Friday, FCCI Acting President Chaudhry Muhammad Boota expressed the hope that incoming PML-N government might focus attention on construction of large dams, including Kalabagh Dam, which would produce cheaper electricity compared to thermal power generation at the rate of about Rs18 per unit. “Construction of large dams, including Kalabagh, is inevitable,” he said.

Since 1974 no large dam has been built in the country, though electricity demand has been increasing at 10% per year, leading to acute shortage of electricity for the business, industry and general consumers.

According to Boota, every year a huge quantity of water is wasted, causing an estimated loss of Rs500 billion, which could easily be saved and prevented from flowing into the sea for consumption in the area of agriculture. “We store only 13% of the annual flow of rivers compared to 35% in India on the Sutlej Bias Basin,” he said.

The construction of large dams, besides producing inexpensive electricity, will also enhance water storage capacity to address issues pertaining to food security.

Boota suggested that along with other alternative resources, the country should also go for coal energy, taking benefit of an estimated 185 billion tons of coal reserves in Thar.

Citing examples, he said India produced 69% of electricity from coal, China 79% and US 45% compared to Pakistan where only 1% was generated from this alternative resource.

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