Islamabad-Speakers at a seminar yesterday underlined the need for revisiting existing laws on environmental protection and gearing up relevant bodies to tackle environmental hazards after expected changes in the current energy mix.

Addressing a seminar on energy, environment and sustainable development organised by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority(NEPRA) here, chairman NEPRA Tariq Saddozai said Pakistan being a responsible country had an obligation to help the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and other harmful to environment, therefore it was important to address such related issues by all relevant quarters and ensure clean and sustainable energy for people.

He said efforts were being made to replace countrywide power transformers filled with hazardous oil and urged relevant authorities at provinces to identify those units to address this concern. He said since the government was struggling to enter the era of coal- based power generation, so there was a need to use of modern emission controls in power generation plants, adding research studies in this regard should be studied to fully capitalize on the forthcoming projects.

Moreover he added, tougher environmental standards should be targeted to keep at similar levels with the developing world. Quoting the International Energy Agency (IEA), he said the world over was 41.3 percent on coal, 21.7 percent on natural gas, 16.3 percent on hydro, 10.6 percent on nuclear, 5.7 percent on others and 4.4 percent from oil.

He said the Co2 emission from fuel combustion from coal was 46 percent, Oil 33.6 percent, natural gas 19.8 percent and others was 0.6 percent, he added. He said Pakistan had very negligible share in the emission of CO2 across the globe. He said Pakistan was among those countries who have one of the lowest energy consumption per capita in the world.

He said Power generation power plants and the fuel being used had a significant impact on the environment and climate and coal was one of the fossil fuels which was quite in abundance in the world. Looking ahead, he said it was also an established fact that Pakistan power system needed relatively cheap base- load power plants and coal, specifically Thar coal could be a major candidate to satisfy objectives.

He hoped the seminar was expected to become the first such effort to bring together the most relevant experts in the field and it is hoped that this seminar will provide specific recommendations to move forward for a cleaner world.

Speaking on the occasion Husnain Zaigham Alvi, Advisor Technical NEPRA, Vaqar Zakria, Chairman BOD, NTDC and Muhammad Asad from Lucky Electric Power said aging equipment in power distribution system should be replaced to overcome electricity wastage issues and ensure cleaner environment. They said there was a need to target higher per capita electricity availability to trigger economic activity keeping a check on environmental emissions in global schemes.

They said long term and sustainable solution to the energy crisis in Pakistan was to develop power project full three criteria including low cost of power generation, fast commissioning and based load, adding coal based power generation lies in the sweet spot. They said double standard should be avoided by treating government owned entities and IPPs with a same yardstick with regard to implementation of environmental regulations.

They said 10,770 MW expected to be acquired from coal-based projects so efforts should be made to acquire modern technology which was available in international market to control emissions and to overcome environmental issues, they observed.