Optimal and affordable energy mix
Speaking at agreement signing function of 1124 Kohala Hydropower project, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that fuel cost of the operational thermal power plants is very high and their tariff has become unaffordable. There can be no two opinions about this bitter fact. However, no policy options are insight to address these burning issues.
The energy policy of the past governments of other two mainstream political parties was exclusively and entirely based on highly expensive electricity generation from fossil fuel such as diesel, furnace oil, RLNG and coal. Shady agreements were made, while completely neglecting the threat of global warming, air pollution and health hazards for the people of the country. Moreover, the skewed policy of highly expensive thermal power generation proved to be a landmine to blast the weak economy of the country. Accumulation of Rs.2 trillion power sector circular debts will certainly push it into a quagmire.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar had attended the international conference on global warming held in Paris in 2015, which produced the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. In violation of that agreement, coal and gas based electricity generation projects of 10000 megawatt were implemented.
Power policy contours of PTI government aim at generating 30 percent electricity from inexpensive and environment friendly sources such as wind solar and hydel power stations. However, the real test of the government is lowering of the electricity tariff to generate demand for the additional installed capacity of 15 thousand megawatt, which cannot be inducted in the faulty transmission and distribution system as it will not pick it and to avoid the risk of rapid increase in circular debt. How can 30 percent more electricity generation be injected in the system without its expansion and modernisation? The law of demand states that when price of a commodity or service goes up, its demand falls. That is why the electricity generation capacity has increased to 35000 megawatt and peak demand in summer remains at 20000 megawatt. Power plants are not running to the full capacity and honest consumers are facing the agony of load shedding both in urban and rural areas. The stakeholders of IPPs are insurmountable notwithstanding that Inquiry Commission Report on power sector cartel has been discussed in the federal cabinet. .