Energy efficiency to save $1.15b annually

Govt approved conservation measures amid high energy costs, crisis


Zafar Bhutta October 20, 2022
Some farmers use a solar-powered fans to separate the grains from the husks. The use of solar energy has become an integral part of life, especially in rural Pakistan. photo: China Economic Net

ISLAMABAD:

Amid high energy costs and an impending energy crisis, the government has approved energy and conservation measures preventing the outflow of $1.15 billion per annum.

The people of Pakistan are currently paying high electricity prices and yet are suffering from prolonged power outages in addition to circular debt of multi-billion rupees. In their electricity bills, consumers are paying several surcharges in addition to multiple taxes resulting in higher electricity costs.

Now, the coalition government has approved energy efficiency measures that will save over one billion dollars annually. The power division presented the “Efficiency and Conservation Measures Implementation Roadmap” to the cabinet in a meeting held last week chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The cabinet was briefed about how major international events had resulted in the disruption of the global energy supply chain. As a result, prices of crude oil and imported coal witnessed an increase of 32% and 103% respectively, in the last nine months. Pakistan, as a net importer of energy resources, was consequently facing serious supply-side challenges. In such situations, energy conservation measures are used by countries across the globe. However, in Pakistan, both energy efficiency and conservation are generally treated as alien concepts.

According to the Energy Yearbook, final energy consumption for FY 2020-21 stood at 60.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent, registering an increase of over 15% in the previous year.

The power division warned that the situation was becoming unsustainable for the country and, therefore, there is an urgent need to implement measures for energy efficiency and conservation nationally. This will be applicable across the energy value chain.

It was in this backdrop that the cabinet, in its meeting held on May 10, 2022, reviewed the situation holistically and directed the Cabinet Division to constitute a Ministerial Committee on Energy, Water and Food Conservation.

The ministerial committee was notified by the cabinet division, on June 14, 2022, under the convenorship of the federal minister for defence with a mandate to consider and recommend measures to be taken for conservation of energy, water and food, as per the cabinet decision. During the working sessions, several sub-sectors with inefficient energy use were identified. An urgent need for the upgradation of energy efficiency and conservation standards, along with strict enforcement compliance, was also suggested.

The replacement of inefficient appliances and consumer awareness of the responsible use of energy were other key areas identified for action. After thorough evaluation, a detailed plan and implementation strategy was formulated which was presented to the prime minister.

As many as six efficiency and conservation measures were finalised and presented to the cabinet.

The committee had proposed the enforcement of administrative measures like the hybrid work model, closure of commercial markets at 8 PM and alternate switching of street-lights. These measures will result in savings of close to $568 million annually. Switching to LED lights could enable annual savings of another $103 million.

Thirdly, the committee informed that around 2.65 million fans cause a loss of around 0.68 billion units annually. Ban on the production of inefficient fans will enable savings of around $69 million annually.

Installed water geysers consume around 105 million mmbtus of gas annually, whose energy usage can be reduced by 25% through the installation of conical baffles, enabling annual savings of around $419 million. The committee proposed that massive awareness campaigns on energy efficiency and conservation be carried out through print, electronic and social media platforms.

In line with the abovementioned key measures, a road map has been developed along with an implementation strategy outlining action items, identifying responsible entities and the respective time-lines. Sources say the cabinet has formed a committee, chaired by Federal Minister Khawaja Asif, to finalise the implementation strategy.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2022.

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