By Sheikh Muhammad Ibraheem
Sheikh Muhammad Ibraheem is a student of electrical engineering, an author, and a researcher
from Pakistan. He is an active member of NSPE and IEEE, world’s largest engineering
communities. His books are published across the globe and is currently studying in the
University of Lahore.
In South Asia, Pakistan is a developing nation. In terms of population, the nation comes in fifth. Its economy is fragile despite being one of the biggest in the world for a variety of reasons. Pakistan’s energy resources include uranium, renewable energy (hydropower, wind, solar, wood, etc) and fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil). In Pakistan, the most common fuel utilised to generate energy is natural gas. Around 27.7% of all electricity generated comes from this source. The second highest contribution, is of hydropower which generates 26.9% of the total electricity demand in the country. At the moment, the nation gets 4,635 megawatts of electricity from hydropower, 1,060 megawatts from thermal power plants owned by the government, and 9,677 megawatts from IPPs (Independent Power Producers). However Pakistan is facing serious problems including political upheaval, a severe energy shortage, and poor literacy rates.
In Pakistan, energy crises is nothing new. In 2011, there was a 7000 Megawatt electrical shortfall in country. The country’s energy crisis has been brought on by a number of factors, such as inadequate maintenance of power plant generating, distribution networks, theft, and a lack of system upgrades. Natural gas, the nation’s second-largest major fuel source after biofuels, is also becoming increasingly scarce. The poor, who sometimes lack access to electricity or other forms of energy, rely mostly on natural gas for heating.
Pakistan is quite concerned about the energy problem for a number of reasons. In the coming five or six decades, the primary energy source (fossil fuel) will run out. Finding an alternative to fossil fuels is also necessary. The ideal substitute for fossil fuels is electrical energy because it is a renewable, clean, and far more dependable source of energy.
According to the reports, a number of factories have been shut down because of a lack of oil, gas, and coal. Several regions of the country are experiencing load shedding for 10 to 12 hours per day in the hot weather as a result of the growing shortfall. However, in places with severe line losses, load shedding lasts for longer than 12 hours.
Causes & Solution to Energy Crisis in Pakistan
Understanding the main factors that led to the problem in the first place is key to finding a solution. Overpopulation, insufficient infrastructure, untapped sources of renewable energy, energy waste, inadequate distribution networks, and political unrest are all contributing factors to Pakistan’s energy crisis.
The world’s population has been steadily growing, as have the demands it makes on resources like fuel and goods. No matter the food or product you choose to consume, whether it be fair trade, organic, or created in a sweatshop from petroleum products, every one of them requires large amounts of energy to produce or deliver. The need for electricity in residential and commercial areas will rise as a result of overpopulation, which will also raise the demand for electricity generation. Without adequate planning, population growth will have negative repercussions on the nation’s economy and energy output.
To ensure that energy can be used successfully, efficient infrastructure is necessary. For the energy grid as a whole—a network of infrastructure that includes generation, transmission, distribution, wiring, and metering—collaboration is crucial. A weak link can obstruct effective use at any point.
The maintenance engineer I met at Tarbela Dam in May 2022 informed me that the energy issue could be quickly resolved if the current system could be updated to the most recent technology. The majority of the country’s electricity is produced using antiquated methods, and it is urgently necessary to modernize.
As innovation drives costs lower and begins to fulfil the promise of a clean energy future, renewable energy is rising. This means that “dirty” fossil fuels are being replaced with renewable energy sources in the power sector, which has the advantage of lowering carbon and other types of pollution emissions.
Renewable energy sources are still largely underutilized in the majority of nations. Utilizing renewable energy sources, which also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, can help us rely less on fossil fuels. Our
nation’s energy challenge may be resolved with the aid of renewable energy. It might not be a complete fix for the issue. However, its contribution will have a significant positive impact on our economy.
Poor Distribution System
One of the key causes of the energy problem is a poor distribution system. In Pakistan, the most common causes of electrical blackouts include transmission line losses, electrical cable failure, and poorly managed distributed systems. While distribution losses account for around 50% of total losses, transmission losses make up about 17% of them. As distribution systems grow more reliable and sophisticated, frequent blackouts, unexpected voltage fluctuations, and transformer overheating can be avoided, saving lives and maximising the use of currently available energy.
Circular debt has surpassed billions of dollars, and power difficulties have reached new heights. In order for Pakistani power generation businesses to attain a market price level without interference from the government, new energy strategy needs to be developed, and deregulation of these companies should be carefully considered. Deregulation will improve the collection of electricity bills, lower circular debt, and stop corruption and electricity theft.