Pakistan urged to explore alternative energy sources

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's official planners have advised the government to shift rapidly energy production away from fossil fuel to nuclear, wind, solar and other alternate energy sources. Fast depleting gas reserves and rising oil prices demand that the government reduce the current heavy dependence on the natural gas for industry, power generation and commercial and household use, official sources said.


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Published: Mon 4 Sep 2006, 10:44 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:14 PM

The government has been urged to reduce its current heavy dependence on natural gas for industry, power generation and commercial and household use by finding out certain other means of energy resources.

The country's natural gas reserves were anticipated to witness a major decline by 2010 for which it was said that some plan must be formulated right now to meet the situation. Since nuclear energy has proved one of the very efficient and successful power generation modes, the planners particularly those sitting in the Planning Commission and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) wanted the government to accelerate its negotiations with China for acquiring two more nuclear power plants of about 650 MW to meet the country's growing energy requirements.

"Now when we have been officially informed by the Americans that they are not interested in concluding a nuclear deal like that of India, the country is left with no option at least for the time being to speed up its talks with the Chinese over the issue", a source said.

It is believed that while many new technologies and sources of energy are currently being investigated, the development and introduction of new systems based on nuclear oil etc. should be urgently worked out aimed at meeting the looming oil crunch.

In all cases, it is understood that true costs will need to be worked out for all competing norms of present and future energy - coal and its derivatives (add health costs), hydro-electric plants in the Northern Areas (contribution to and danger from seismic activity), nuclear (waste handling, de-commissioning, and availability of fissionable material), solar cells (monopolies, and toxic wastes from production), fuel cells (secondary source costs), wind energy (low availability and storage issues which it shares with solar), fusion (time factor), ethanol (grow more sugarcane or use the water for something else).

According to the Planning Commission, an energy trend suggests the possible shift from gasoline engine vehicles to hybrid 'flex fuel' vehicles which can run on at least two fuels (from gasoline, CNG and bio-fuels) and electric storage. Realising the critical importance of energy in rapid and sustainable growth, the government had set up a Task Force to prepare a comprehensive report. However, the Planning Commission believes that it will be important to stay on course for implementing the Energy Security Plan. Depending upon the actual progress, the Plan should be regularly reviewed and updated to keep the economy on high growth trajectory, it said.

Currently, the per capita energy consumption is low in Pakistan - 14 million British Thermal Units (BTUs) as against 92 million BUTs for Malaysia. The total primary energy consumption is presently 55 Million Tons of Oil Equivalent (MTOE), which is expected to rise to 360 MTOE in next 25 years.

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