Pakistan’s solution for energy crisis lies in Thar coal: minister

KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah said spending money on importing fuel does not sound good for long term when we have huge reserves of coal in our homeland. Solution for energy crisis of the entire country lies in Thar coal and the government is committed to develop it.

“We will have to devise short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies to redress energy crisis through strong will and determination,” he said while speaking as a chief guest on the second day of two-day event ‘Conference on Entrepreneurial Engineering Opportunities in Renewable Energy for Self-Sufficiency’ organized by College of Engineering Sciences, Institute of Business Management (IoBM).

He said previously, a couple of foreign companies had had bad experience in Sindh one of them was high tariff imposed by NEPRA, however, by the grace of Almighty Allah (SWT) in last two years we have become successful in luring foreign investors to develop Thar coal reserves which are more than 180 billion tonnes.

“We are facilitating investors for developing energy in Sindh. Land has been allocated for developer companies to generate 3000mw electricity through wind corridor. Currently, 250mw is being generated in the corridor,” he said.

The finance minister, who also holds membership of portfolio of energy cabinet in provincial government, said apart from these projects, installation of gas-fuelled Nooriabad power plant, which will provide 100mw to Karachi, will be completed by September this year as we have to meet the 60000mw shortfall.

He said solar energy could be looked into for immediate need. Tharparkar has good solar radiation. 140 houses have been electrified through PV solar technology near Indian border in Achhro Thar. 5000 more would be electrified soon, while five solar plants of 20mw had been installed in different districts of Sindh.

He also said the recommendations presented by the experts in two-day conference would be presented to the Sindh government.

Academician Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui gave an overview presentation on Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park – the first successful grid connected solar power plant in Pakistan.

He said no single technology could be 100 percent answer of the issue due to its limitations whether it be fossil fuel, nuclear, solar or wind technology. He lauded efforts of the Punjab government to take initiative to build the 100mw solar park and complete it in record time of 10 months.

Energy expert Shaaf Mehboob lamented that Pakistan was lagging far behind in per capita energy consumption which is around 450 kV/h, while its counterpart India has made 7.5% improvement in three years at 750kv/h. Pakistan has made no change in per capita consumption in three years. United Kingdom, China and even Greece were at more than 5000 kV/h per capita consumption and America was on the top with more than 12000 kV/h per capita consumption.

Deputy General Manger K-Electric Abdul Fawad said it was better to save a mega watt rather than generate one. He called depletion of resources, inefficient use/ planning and electricity theft reasons of energy crisis among others.

He told the conference that 25mg biogas-fuelled power plant will soon be established near cattle market in Landhi.

President IoBM Shahjehan Karim, Rector IoBM Talib Karim, Director General National Institute of Oceanography Dr Asif Inam, Principal Comsats Ghaffar Dogar, Head of Department Supply Chain IoBM Ghaffar Dogar, Dean CBM & CES Irfan Hyder, Prof Bahria University Faisal Aftab and Seher Abbas from Tufts University also addressed on the occasion.