LAHORE: The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems across Pakistan are consuming about 2,000MW of electricity, while substandard electrical equipment and home appliances are proving to be a major source of power wastage, according to president of the Renewable and Alternate Energy Association of Pakistan (REAP), Muhammad Naseer.
In an interview on Sunday, Mr Naseer urged the government to allocate funds in the budget for promotion of alternative energy resources and formulate an investor-friendly policy in this regard.
According to some estimates, he said, the demand for electricity in the country would surge to 49,000MW by 2025, adding that at present 67 per cent of the population had the facility of electricity.
He said that even though the country had huge reserves of coal only about 0.6 per cent of the total electricity generated by it came from coal-based plants.
He said that Pakistan had been blessed with enormous resources of energy like water, wind, sunlight and coal and “if we take steps to ensure their optimum utilisation, these will not only enable the country to meet its own power requirements but will also enable it to export electricity”.
The REAP president said the country would be in a position to generate an additional 15,000MW if all the under-construction dams were completed by 2025.
According to Mr Naseer, South Africa is generating 93 per cent of its electricity from coal. For China the rate is 81 per cent, for India 71 per cent and for Australia 69 per cent.
He said that Thar alone had coal reserves of 175 billion tons. Worth $30 trillion, the reserves could generate 100,000MW of electricity annually for 500 years.
Increased use of coal could allow the country to stop importing furnace oil, thus saving $20bn in import bills.
“By all accounts, Thar coal is the best option for electricity generation... Coal reserves have also been found in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.
Answering a question, Mr Naseer said that because the electricity demand would increase to 49,000MW by 2025, the country should start mining coal in a big way today and begin utilising environment-friendly technologies in order to meet the future requirements.
“In order to ease the severe energy crisis, we all initially will have to focus on energy conservation as a national obligation,” he said.
He added that the government should keep a check on the sale and use of substandard electrical and electronic appliances to stop wastage of electricity.
Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2015