Hydropower is indispensable to solve energy crisis in Pakistan

Pakistan is undergoing an acute energy crisis for the last decade. As a result of industrial development and population growth, demand of energy has been increased enormously. Moreover, inefficient energy supply capacity and incompetent management of resources have worsened the condition.

Energy requirements of Pakistan are met through oil, gas, coal, hydro power, solar power and nuclear power. The fundamental factor responsible for the electricity shortfall is inappropriate energy mix and increased dependence on non-renewable resources. Increased reliance on thermal power is directly translated into increased generation cost and consequently increased tariff due to costly fuel component. Currently, more than 60% of electricity is being generated through thermal resources i.e. oil & gas.

Hydroelectricity is produced by utilizing the energy of running water. Unlike thermal power, prices of hydroelectricity do not rely on unpredictable variations in fuel cost. The share of hydel power in total power generation of Pakistan was nearly 70% in 1970s which has now been reduced to 32%. Hydropower development suffered a slowdown in recent decades despite of large potential available for hydropower generation.

Electricity shortfall that surges to around 5000MW every year could have been averted by harnessing the considerable hydropower potential in recent years, either by construction of Dams or Run-of-River Hydropower projects.

According to estimates, Pakistan has hydropower potential of about 60,000 MW, of which only around 7000 MW is exploited so far. More than 85% of country’s hydropower potential is still untapped. Enormous potential is available for hydroelectric development in Gilgit-Baltistan, of which less than 1% is harnessed by this time. Installed capacity is inappreciable against available potential in other provinces as well.

About 30MAF of water goes waste into sea every year which is more than five times the existing live storage capacity of Tarbela reservoir, yet we profess that we are short of water and short of power.

There is dire need to reconfigure the energy mix by effectively utilizing the hydel power and reducing the power generation from thermal sources. It will help to conserve the available fossil fuels and will provide reliable and consistent energy at low-cost.

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3 Comments

  1. ali says

    PPP killed kalabagh Dam.i will never forgive them nor vote for them for committing this crime.PML-N should reviving this project immediately.

    1. M Imran says

      PMLN govt have more parliamentary strength but they are not interested to take-up this project.Why.?? This govt did not initiate any hydro-power project while having more power,seats in NA.

  2. M Ejaz Khan ACE says

    The problem is not PMLN, PPP or Tehreek e Insaf, actually what we need is to see our issues like hydro electricity through our Think Tank. Do we have it; No But a Big NO. We neither have any national policy nor have national experts (Think Tank) to cover Pakistan national policies, to think, consider and decide. What we are suffering from political experts only to run 5 years of their tenure and to work for next elections.

    I remember once I was on a visit with a German Expert from GTZ to show him tributaries of Indus River for hydro-power potential. On one of the tributary he hold his head in his hands saying ” OH PAKISTAN HAVE LOT OF RESOURCES BUT THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE”.

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