LAHORE – Speaking at the 2nd National Energy Conference 2012, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani emphasised upon the provinces to play their due role in power generation to overcome the energy crisis.
In his inaugural address to the conference held at 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-i-Azam here on Monday, he said, “The federal government is committed to bring energy security for the people of Pakistan and our strategy is to ensure sustainable power supply at competitive prices to all sector.”
Elaborating the government’s strategy to overcome energy crisis, the PM said that it involved further exploitation of hydropower to reduce cost of inputs; developing coal reserves for power generation and to convert the plants from oil to coal in the interim, as Thar Coal alone had 175 billion tonnes reserves and was suitable for power generation of around 100,000 MW annually. Apart from this, he added, the government was developing and encouraging use of renewable energy resources like solar, wind and biomass; increasing emphasis on nuclear energy resources; accelerating exploration and production of oil and gas reserves including off-shore drilling.
He added that targeted subsidies for the lowest slab users; encouraging use of LPG and import of LNG to meet gas requirement; recognising the role of provinces in power generation, and energy efficiency and conservation were other measures to address the problem.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, as host of the moot, welcomed the guests and other participants, while AJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, KPK Governor Barrister Kausar Masood, KPK Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Khan Raisani, Federal Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Federal Minister for Water and Power Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr. Asim Hussain, Gilgit-Baltistan’s Senior Minister Muhammad Jafar and large number of parliamentarians, businessmen and other stakeholders attended the conference.
The prime minister said that energy issue was affecting all segments of the society and clogging the system and economic activity in the country.
“We will remain a victim to shifts in the oil market until we develop and execute a national consensus on long-term policy for secure, affordable energy. The challenge is huge and we need to work in unison before the energy crisis overwhelms us”, he observed.
The PM said that investment in the energy sector was not significant before 2008, while the previous regime had not made efforts to capture hydel and coal potential, hence not a single megawatt of electricity had been added to the national grid.
The premier told the participants that the present government had inherited a supply shortage of 5,000 MW in 2008, and electricity demand and number of consumers was increase by over seven percent per year.
Gilani said that the present government had managed to add 34000MW in power system in the last four years, besides changing the energy mix and shifting towards hydel and coal.
“For this, we have accelerated the work on Neelum-Jhelum power project; finalised financing for more turbines at Tarbela; starting work on Diamer-Bhasha Dam; design is underway for Dasu Dam; rehabilitation of Jabban hydropower Malakand; Jaggran-II with the assistance of France; Gomal Zam and Satpara Dam with US assistance and Patrind Hydropower (AJK) in the private sectr by a Korean Company,” he elaborated.
The PM said the government was also building Chasham-III and IV, and 747MW Guddu combined cycle with the assistance of China; improvement of transmission and distribution system as well as building new grid stations with major assistance of Asian Development Bank.