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May 20, 2017

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Experts call for revamping power distribution system

Experts call for revamping power distribution system

Increased reliance on renewable energy demanded

ISLAMABAD: With the country all set to generate surplus electricity in the next few years, the major challenge now is to revamp and upgrade overloaded distribution system so that domestic consumers could have access to reliable and efficient power supply.

This was of the crux of the views expressed by energy sector experts and officials who spoke at the 9th Annual Power Generation Conference, 2017, organised by the Energy Update on Friday.

The speakers at the annual power generation moot said in the mid-90s the country too had almost achieved the target of generating surplus electricity, as planners had been thinking to import power to India, but the opportunity was missed at that time due to poor planning. The country should increase its reliance on hydro, solar, wind, and indigenous coal resources for power generation so that energy production in the coming years could be done more on sustainable basis with much less generation cost, they added. 

Establishment of Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG)-based power plants is one such right move towards efficient electricity generation that would ultimately be helpful in lowering power tariff for the consumers.

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said that the country has crossed the landmark of record 17,720MW generation on May 17, 2017. The power generation in the country would be increased to 20,000MW in the ongoing summer season with RLNG-based power plants coming online, he added. The minister said power outages were being observed only in such areas where payment of electricity has been unsatisfactory, while efforts would be made to spare citizens of power cuts during Sehri, Iftar, and Taraveeh timings during the holy month of Ramazan. The present government has been able to add 5,567MW to the national grid since 2013 under its drive to overcome power shortfall in the country, he said. Line losses related to electricity transmission and distribution systems in the country has decreased 1.8 percent, while recovery of electricity bills from the consumers has increased 2.8 percent.

The minister said best utilisation of hydro, thermal, wind, solar, and nuclear power resources are being ensured so that the electricity shortage could be plugged by the next year. The government is also upgrading the existing power transmission systems and also laying new lines for transmitting electricity for reliable power supply to the end-consumers, he added. Jean-François Cautain, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, said that the EU has been keenly observing the policies being adopted by the Pakistani government for overcoming power shortfall in the short- and long-term, as once the European nation has to cope with the similar energy crisis that was overcome through innovative means.

The EU has been extending maximum support to Pakistan to generate electricity through most efficient, renewable, and inexpensive methods that would also be helpful in the upkeep of environment, he added.

For the same cause, the private companies among the EU countries would forge cooperation with the energy sector of Pakistan, the ambassador added.

Cautain said that the EU has extended support to establish Hydropower Training Institute at Mangla. Ole Thonke, the Danish ambassador in Pakistan, said that Denmark has developed an energy strategy to be 100 percent independent from fossil fuels by 2050, which had already yielded great results, as at present, more than 50 percent of energy in Denmark comes from renewable sources, of which over 40 percent is generated by wind power.

Thonke said that the Denmark’s GDP has grown over 44 percent since 1990, whereas energy consumption has declined eight percent, resulting in 36 percent decline in carbon dioxide emissions.

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