The rise in temperatures has brought about a predictable increase in the demand for electricity, but the government seems ill-equipped to handle this, with certain areas facing around 16 hours of load-shedding on Friday. The demand for electricity stood at 16,800 MW, with officials claiming a shortfall of 3300 MW while other sources stated 5000 MW was a more plausible estimate. The PML-N is looking beyond borders for assistance in ending the crisis and making improvements to the national grid.
The Thar coal project will not even be close to operational for the next three years. The Nandipur power project will supposedly be completed by the end of this year, with a maximum generation capability of 425 MW. Work on the Gaddani power park has not even begun, and with no deadline set for completion, it seems as if the PML-N’s dream of over 6000 MW generated through this project will not turn into reality anytime soon. The Quaid-e-Azam solar park is no different, with a promised bump of 1000 MW to the national grid not possible until all ten contracts have been handed out to efficient firms. The Neelum-Jhelum power project will have a maximum capacity of 969 MW only, when it is completed in 2016. And the most recent initiative of the government on Port Qasim will start energy production in 2018, at a maximum capacity of 1320 MW.
Pakistan’s age-old friendship with China was rewarded once more with a $32 billion development package last month, with reports that a significant portion will be used to tackle the country’s power generation.
After the Prime Minister’s visit to India, the state is allegedly in advanced talks with the Indian government to import LNG and electricity from our Eastern neighbours. Pakistan is planning to import 500 MW from India, later increasing this to 1200 MW as a stop-gap measure to counter the immediate shortage. The government is also looking to developed countries such as Denmark and Germany for assistance in harnessing wind and solar energy for sustainable development. As it stands, even if all things go as planned for the government, including a deal to import at least 500 MW of electricity from India, Pakistan will only be able to cover for 1000 MW of shortage by next year. The 2000-4000 MW that will remain as shortfall cannot be decreased; however, the government can bridge the gap even further if sincere efforts are made to reduce power theft and line losses, which the government has neglected to do so far.