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Govt urged to address grey areas in energy policy

Although the government is trying to meet the energy crisis head on, there are a few grey areas in the draft energy policy that must be addressed to develop cost-effective energy solutions, said various stakeholders.

They said the policymakers seem to have kept their eyes close on renewable energy since there is not a word on exploration of renewable energy for next five years in the policy.

They added the present government is bereft of proactive approach to harnessing clean energy sources.

The wind energy is available abundantly across the country: near the load centres as well as in remote areas. So, it can feed national grid, and is also suitable for off-grid location, they said.

All provinces are blessed with wind source. Jhimpir, Gharo, and Keti Bandar corridors have abundant wind potential. Similarly, wind corridors are near Quetta and at Saindak. Besides, in Punjab they are in DG Khan and Salt Range, while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Swat valley is potentially laden. Azad Kashmir and northern areas are also windy areas.

An estimate said Pakistan is endowed with a good-to-superb-quality wind power potential of 130,000 megawatts on commercial scale.

Former Project Director at FFC Energy Limited Tariq Izaz said the successive governments failed to capitalise on wind resources. Wind resource is the only sustainable way of producing cheap and clean energy, said Izaz – who spearheaded the wind power project of 50MW last year.

Seemingly, the government wants to end the electricity load shedding without proper homework.

India’s wind energy production crossed the mark of 20,000 MW by end of May 2013. This pace of growth kept the Indian wind power market among the top five ranks globally. With just 56MW of wind power capacity online by the end of 2012, we are even lower to sub-Sahara countries hit hard by civil war and natural calamities.

Interestingly, India’s onshore potential of wind power is less than Pakistan. But their leadership quickly grasped the idea of adopting this clean and cheap way of electricity long ago, he added.

Unlike other renewable and coal/gas/furnace oil options, a wind far of medium level can be established in just 12-18 months.

The policy maker should update their knowledge that wind energy has increasingly become a cheap source of energy. If we want to bring our generation cost to single digit, we must replace our whole diesel-fired thermal plants and part of furnace oil-run project with onshore wind turbines available in 2.5 to six megawatts of capacity. At least 20 per cent of furnace oil-run plants need to be replaced with wind.

As per an official document, cost of diesel generation in April 2013 has been calculated at whopping Rs21.48 per kilowatt hours, while per unit cost of furnace oil in the same month has been recorded at Rs16.48.

The contribution of this costly power makes up an average purchase price of power to Rs8.45 per unit.

This generation price leads to unbearable level of over Rs12 per unit if all other costs are included. Moreover, this per unit cost finally increases to Rs16 if we add impact of cumulative losses in it.

During April 2013, Pakistan produces about two percent electricity from diesel and nearly 40 percent of power was produced with furnace oil. If we replace diesel-fueled power generation completely with wind – even if it costs Rs12 per unit – the average energy cost would drastically decrease by Rs2 per unit.

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