Energy efficiency key to resolving power crisis

Pakistan can increase available power by up to 20% by plugging leaks.


Our Correspondent July 28, 2013
While Pakistan’s per capita energy consumption compared to the global or Asian average is very low at about 450 kWh per year, this also means that there is great potential for growth. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI:


According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asia is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world, and it also has one of the biggest appetites when it comes to consuming power. Already Asia consumes about a third of the world’s energy resources and this is expected to rise as growth rates increase along with populations.


According to the ADB, most Asian economies already lag far behind in energy production, far short of domestic needs and rely mostly on imported power. This is perhaps doable for really fast-growing and cash-rich economies like Singapore or China, but is not a sustainable practice for a country like Pakistan which is constantly trying to boost its forex reserves and manage its balance of payments.

The only way forward for Pakistan is to increase power generation which it seems the current government is trying to do. It is trying to fast-track power projects like dams, Thar coal and nuclear as well as alternative energy projects in the areas of solar and wind power.



But another area that needs equal focus, if not more is energy efficiency. This incorporates not just efficiency in energy production but also conservation. It is predicted that like most other developing countries Pakistan will double its energy demand every decade. Pakistan already has one of the highest rates of energy utilisation per unit of dollar GDP and as global legislation becomes even tougher because of the greenhouse effect and climate change, this will severely stunt our ability to sustain growth.

While it is true that Pakistan’s per capita energy consumption compared to the global or Asian average is very low at about 450 kWh per capita per year, this also means that there is great potential for growth, and we should be ready for this.

The way forward

There a number of measures that can be taken to increase the overall efficiency of the energy chain. Some measures have already been taken like an audit of power producers so that the more energy efficient ones may be given priority in gas supply.

But this is just one link in the chain. The distribution of electricity is another huge drain on our electricity resources. Then there is the issue of unaccounted-for-gas (UFG) which is also very high and the gas utility companies constantly want this increased. The real solution is not to increase the allowance for UFG but to plug the leaks.



Awareness programmes to educate consumers about thesmart and efficient use of electricity, gas, water and other energy resources need to be launched and completed as soon as possible to plug the drain of valuable resources. The smart use of insulation to reduce the cooling or heating bill will also contribute to this.

It is therefore no surprise that by 2030 energy saved through improved efficiency is predicted to be so significant that it would become an important “fuel” in its own right. A developing nation like Pakistan would find it more cost effective to increase its energy supply through efficiency and conservation efforts as compared to building new generation capacity.

Conclusion

According to the Overseas Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) it’s a long drawn out process to reach optimum levels of energy efficiency because there are so many variables like political, financial and social issues that are linked to this process.

The OICCI, according a study, predicts that if all the stakeholders come together and work in cohesion there is no reason why Pakistan cannot reduce its energy consumption by about 20% in less than five years. That would help us shave off a significant chunk of Pakistan’s current level of energy imports, thus freeing up more fiancés to be invested in short-and long-term energy projects.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.

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COMMENTS (1)

HAROON RASHID | 7 years ago | Reply

Energy efficiency is extremely to Pakistan as we are a resource deficient country. Making best efforts to produce more electricity, and energy resources. We should adopt the guideline reccomendations of International Energy Agency, Paris for our national Energy Efficiency including Electricity, fuel efficiency in automobiles, utilising alternative energy. Looking at the cost per KWH todays prices of solar PV is 0.53 cents, It could be the best media to change the demand supply ratio with further inputs. Utilising DC power directly from solar, wind power which will also be tremendously energy efficienct as power is generated in DC either solar, wind. When it is changed to consumption for AC 220/240 Volt 50Hz., This means we may loose upto 30% power in changing it from DC to AC. If it is utilised in DC original shape we save 30%. This should be communicated to our regulatory authority NEPRA as well which is in the process of allowing Net Metering for solar power.

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