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January 16, 2019

Fossil fuel-based power generation jumps 38 percent


January 16, 2019

LAHORE: The share of fossil fuel-based power generation has jumped by a whopping 38 percent since 2014-15, owing mainly to stagnation/reduction and no significant expansion in hydroelectric generation, The News learnt on Tuesday.

Country’s hydroelectric share in energy mix has fallen from 32 percent in 2013 to 29 percent in 2018, while the thermal (IPPS) share has increased from 40 percent to 45 percent during the same period.

Analysts say Pakistan’s dependence on imported fuel-based thermal power generation has increased to a fault, while the solar and wind tariffs have reduced across the world.

Official data revealed that power generation from natural gas, furnace oil, high speed diesel, coal and imported electricity stood at 57.65 billion units in 2014-15, translating into a share of 59.15 percent of total power generation mix.

It jumped to 79.57 billion units in 2017-18, registering a leap in its share to 65.88 percent of total power generation mix.

Out of fossil fuel-based electricity generation, a steep rise has been recorded in coal-based power production during 2014-15 and 2017-18. It surged from mere 103GWh in 2014-15 to 11.75 billion units in 2017-18, showing a staggering jump of 11313.59 percent.

Electricity generation from natural gas clocked in at 22.92 units in 2014-15, which rose to 43.65 billion units in 2017-18, depicting a growth of 90.39 percent.

Generation from furnace oil, however, saw a downward trend due to policy decision about discouraging its use for power production. As many as 31.72 billion units of electricity were produced in 2014-15 from furnace oil, which reduced to 23.37 billion units, showing a slide of 26.31 percent during the same period.

Diesel-based power generation also nosedived during the period. High speed diesel-based power generation contributed 2.90 billion units in 2014-15, which declined to 785GWh in 2017-18, indicating a dip of 72.98 percent.

Although fossil fuel-based power generation is not an environmentally-friendly option, thermal generation contributed significantly in reducing the gap between demand and supply.

The augmented power supply has greatly helped in reducing intensity of crippling outages across the country.

The added capacity of thermal units also leads to supplementing base-load, ensuring a continuous supply of electricity most of time as such electricity generation units are only turned off during periodic maintenance.

These thermal plants act as readily available sets of capacity as well to meet peak load.

The typical peak load is the daily fluctuation of electricity use, which is usually on the lower side in the early morning and on higher side in the early evening.

According to an official document, the chronic and prolonged power shortages were a prime economic challenge especially three-four years back. However, in recent years, priority was given to electricity generation.

The installed capacity up to early 2018 reached 29,573 MW, which was 22,812 MW in 2012-13, thus, posting a growth of 30 percent.

Although electricity generation varies due to availability of inputs and other constraints, the generation increased from 96.49 billion units in 2012-13 to over 120 billion units in 2017-18, posting a growth of 22 percent.

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