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July 14, 2017

Pakistan to turn electricity surplus by 2020: reports


July 14, 2017

KARACHI: Pakistan will become an electricity surplus country in the next three years as significant power doses are likely to be injected into the grid, official data showed, highlighting, however, the importance of reliable network to hold additional power supply

National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) and K-Electric Limited (KEL) data showed that the country’s current electricity generation stands at 23,234 megawatts (MW), leaving a power shortfall of around 4,000MW. 

Yet, given a number of power production units coming up online, generation capability is expected to reach 34,785MW by 2020, around 3,000MW more than the projected demand. New projects of around 6,000MW are expected to be available by 2020, while new projects of around 8,800MW would be added into the system over the next couple of years and more than 1,000MW would be through renewable energy projects. 

As many as five power producers, including Engro Thar Power Project, Thar Hubco Power Project, Thalnova Coal Project, Oracle Thar Project and Shanghai Electric Coal Project in Thar with a cumulative installed capacity of 3,960MW would come online by 2020.

With new power plants, it is imperative for NTDC and KEL to continue strengthening the system to provide a reliable electricity supply. “NTDC is required to construct a huge transmission network for transportation of power over the next five years,” National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) said in a latest report on state of industry. “Timely completion of the proposed transmission projects requiring a cost outlay of more than Rs67 billion is critical for the evacuation of power from the priority generation power plants to eliminate the power evacuation constraints for smooth operation and a reliable system.”  Electricity demand is expected to grow at annual average of five percent for the next three years.

NTDC-KEL data showed that the country’s electricity generation remains 15 percent short of the total demand in 2017, but the situation is expected to reverse by 2020 as the country’s planned generation capacity would surpass the projected demand by 10 percent.   

A Nepra official said although the installed capacity will be higher than the demand the capability of power generation plants may be lower due to de-rating on account of ageing, imprudent utility practices and seasonality factor.

Power generation plants on conventional fuels and renewable sources, being built under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, are going to ease electricity supply shortages.  A lot now depends on the transmission and distribution entities to strengthen their systems and make the delivery of uninterrupted power to end-consumers a reality.

Although transmission and distribution companies have prepared elaborate plans – with the exception of some projects where the federal government has taken the lead – major challenges still exist for the transmission and distribution entities to meet critical time lines.

The International Energy Agency forecasts electricity demand in Pakistan at more than 49,000MW by 2025. The government set goals under Vision 2025 to increase access to electricity from 67 percent of the population to more than 90 percent and to reduce average cost per unit by over 25 percent by improving the generation mix.

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