Lahore - “Being an atomic power, we should use our knowledge for power generation to get rid of the energy crisis, Provincial Minister for Mines & Minerals Sher Ali Khan said on Saturday.

Speaking at a conference of experts on ‘Economical Fuels for Power Plants in Industries’ held here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry, he said that mobilisation of local resources was key to success; therefore Pakistan should also avail its indigenous resources like coal, solar, wind and hydel to generate power.

He said there was a dire need for shifting to alternative energy resources as conventional resources had not only failed to fulfill the rising energy demand, but were also one of the reasons for the trade deficit.

Expressing the fear that dependence on thermal resources could cause huge damage to the economy, if oil prices rose again in the international market, he stressed the need for shifting to alternative energy sources, saying these would bring down the import bill.

He said that Pakistan had vast coal reserves that could be used for power generation. “Modern technology has it made possible to use all types of coal for power generation; therefore urgent measures in this regard are need of the hour,” he asserted.

“It is high time that alternative solutions to the power crisis were adopted. Solar and wind energy are the best options, but their high costs discourages most of us,” he added. The minister said the government attached top priority to the use of alternate energy resources.

“Punjab government is restructuring the mining sector, as lack of modern technology is coming in the way of fully exploiting the coal resources,” he informed. He urged the private sector to come forward and invest in mining sector, adding it would be a great service to the country.

LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed said the government should promote alternate energy resources on war footing.

He said that Pakistan could produce over 100000 MW of electricity through solar, wind and coal.

“Biomass energy is an adaptable source that can be used to overcome power challenge,” he added.

He further said that biomass energy had the potential to convert a wide variety of wastes into clean energy besides being substitution for diminishing oil supplies.

Chairman of the Standing Committee Mian Fazal Ahmad said that keeping in view the rising energy demands, it was highly imperative to use cheaper fuels and indigenous coal for long-term benefits to the national economy.

He said that with total estimated coal reserves of over 185 billion tonnes, Pakistan ranked sixth among coal-rich countries. “Still, these reserves have not been exploited adequately,” he lamented.

He said that industry should be facilitated through small power producing plants powered by alternative energy resources. He called for legislation in this regard. Experts were of the view that bio energy could play a very vital role in the production of carbon-neutral fuels of high quality.

“It can address many environmental issues, especially global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, and foster sustainable development among poor communities,” they said.

They reminded that biomass fuel sources were readily available in rural and urban areas.

“We all are aware of the present challenges to our economy, and especially the severe energy crisis,” they said, and added, “It is indeed a matter of concern for us that our gas reserves are depleting with the passage of time. Be it domestic or industrial users, all have to face gas shortage in winter season. Even power production through gas comes to a halt in this period that further aggravates the situation.”