LAHORE - Coal is the only available indigenous and inexpensive alternate energy resource, which has the potential to not only ensure self-sufficiency in energy sector but also turn Pakistan into a power exporting country. Globally, the coal component contributes 41 per cent in electricity generation.

This was the upshot of the presentation given at a seminar on ‘Coal-the future fuel of Pakistan industry’. The speakers said that it was very unfortunate that at a time when the coal is extensively being used for power generation all over the world, in Pakistan it is under utilized despite the fact that the worth of Thar coal reserves is more than oil reserves in Saudi Arabia and Iran having a collective quantity of approximately 375 billion barrels.

They also appreciated the Punjab government for giving incentives for the establishment of coal-fired plants and expressed the optimism that the government would ensure one-window operations for the successful completion of Punjab government initiative. They said that the policy incentives like coal logistics through Pakistan Railways, power evacuation by National Transmission and Dispatch Company and land acquisition by Punjab government would help attract private sector investment. LCCI President Sohail Lashari, addressing the seminar organized by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration Petrocoal Synergies, said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was paring no efforts for the promotion of alternate energy resources while it had already arranged two seminars of Kalabagh Dam as it understands that country’s future lies in cheaper energy.

He said that the LCCI study for the establishment of a self-financed power project was well on way that definitely would pave way for other such projects in private sector. He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry would continue to supplement all government efforts aimed at improving energy situation in the country.

Coal expert Asad Wasi said that Pakistan was producing a very little portion of the total electricity being consumed when only two per cent of the Thar Coal can generate 20,000 MW of electricity for next 40 years without a single second of load-shedding, and one can well measure that how much energy Pakistan would have on utilization of the entire coal reserve.

He said that more than 32 countries including America, China, Australia and Russia are presently producing power through coal while the UK generates 16 per cent share of electricity through coal, China 67 per cent, Canada 24 per cent and India 64.6 per cent. Coal gasification is a proven technology for small scale production and there is no technical reason as to why it cannot succeed on a medium to large scale. We should support those companies which are spending money and time to find a cost-effective way to generate electricity.

He said that a number of industries including cement, steel, paper, textile, glass, ceramic and brick had already started utilizing coal for power generation but still there was a room for creating awareness about this great resource.