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ISLAMABAD, July 5: Renowned Scientist and Member Science and Technology, Planning Commission of Pakistan Dr Samar Mubarakmand on Tuesday said the development of Thar coal was the only viable long-term solution to energy crisis prevailing in the country.

“Only Thar Coal can provide guaranteed long-term energy security to Pakistan,” he said while speaking at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI).

He said that the solution to power shortage had to be found indigenously and in this regard the Thar coal was the best option.

He said the electricity generated through integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants would cost Rs7 per KWH. He said that coal could also be converted into coal gas above the ground in machines called surface gasifiers, and the efficiency of the conversion of coal gas to electricity is about 40 per cent.

Dr Samar said that Thar Coal reserves could play a pivotal role in meeting energy crises both in long term and short term which would enhance industrial competitiveness due to cost effectiveness.

He said that the industrial sector could not wait for long and the government should present quick solution to fill in the gap between demand and supply of energy

He said that the 41 per cent electricity of the world was being produced from the coal, adding that India was producing 64.6 per cent electricity from the coal, whereas Pakistan was only producing 2.27 per cent electricity from coal. He said that 95 per cent natural wealth was not being utilised, whereas not a single kg of coal was mined.

He said that the current energy crisis was causing loss of Rs230 billion and rendering 400,000 people jobless. Current dependable power supply hovers around 14,000MW in summer though it drops in the winter.

On the other hand power demand in 2030 would be more than 100,000MW, he added.

Meanwhile, Mahfooz Elahi, President ICCI said that energy was the key determinant of economic development of the country as Pakistan has been facing an unprecedented energy crisis for past few years.

The government must look towards building power plants and tap alternative energy resources for overcoming power shortage, he maintained.

ICCI President said that delay in fulfilment of export consignments has become a matter of routine due to power outages.

To meet the growing demands of energy, Government should exploit its domestic energy resources which would make the country self-reliant, he emphasised.