Tormented by a persistent energy crisis and hostage to the rapidly rising cost of electricity, Pakistan’s only viable option is energy conservation; which is why it is the driving force behind the Energy Conservation Bill tabled in the National Assembly that calls for the use of energy-efficient products at home and industries.
These views were expressed by former federal minister for environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi on Friday at a conference organised by the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) on energy conservation.
He explained that the bill considered the manufacture and usage of goods that required excessive energy a “cognizable offence”.
Chairman Intellectual Property Rights Organisation (IPO) Afridi stated that the crisis would be resolved considerably after the effective implementation of the energy bill.
He also proposed a plan to bring brand companies on board and request that they acquire quality certifications to produce energy-efficient products.
Emphasising the need to create a culture as well as demand for energy conservation in Pakistan, he proposed that these efforts should initially target households. “In my opinion, the media needs to contribute to creating awareness about energy conservation,” Afridi advised.
The former environment minister drew attention to the regrettable fact that 3,000 megawatts of electricity were wasted across the country as a result of inefficient appliances, equipment as well as machinery.
He highlighted the perils of the current energy crisis, and stated that Pakistan had no option except to conserve its energy resources; especially since the cost of electricity was relentlessly finding new heights. He added that setting up new power generation projects would also be very expensive compared to simply saving power through simpler conservation methods at home as well as the commercial and industrial sector.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Taj Haider said that work had been done on three power projects near some of Sindh’s gas fields through a public-private partnership.
President Byco Petroleum Kalim A Siddiqui underlined the need for expediting work on coal projects in Thar to help alleviate the burden on the energy sector, adding that provisions should also be made to improve the infrastructure in these areas so as to speed up the process.
He compared the per kilowatt cost of the various energy resources available for power generation and called for the maximum provision of gas for consumption in power generation as it was the cheapest option.
Hydro power had the lowest cost of production at 7 to 8 paisas per kilowatt, while nuclear energy generation would require 50 to 70 paisas and furnace oil-based power was produced at Rs 15 to 16 per kilowatt; but power generated using natural gas would only cost Rs 4.5 to 5 per kilowatt, he stated.
He added that even rental power project were costing the country Rs 21 per kilowatt, which Siddiqui claimed Pakistan could not afford.
Former Managing Director Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) Dr Faizullah Abbassi echoed Byco president’s remarks regarding the need for expediting development projects, which in his view were the existing gas fields that could potentially provide as much as 450 to 500 Million Cubic feet (MMcF) of gas per day over the next 8 to 12 months.
Chairman Institute of Electrical Engineers, Karachi Centre, Tahir Salim pointed out that household use of commercial energy was less than half of the 70 percent of total energy that industries utilised. Therefore, the wastage that occurred in the latter sector was much higher than in household, he said.
Salim encouraged the adoption of clean sources of power such as solar as well as wind, adding that effective conservation methods should also be used to help rescue the country from the powerful grip of today’s crippling power crisis.