Self-sufficiency in energy is the assurance to excel any country economy. According to latest research, oil and gas reserves will be exhausted into the second half of this century.
For that reason, to attain self-sufficiency, alternative energy resources are being explored around the globe. There are about 929 billion tons of coal reserves whose 40% is used to produce the electricity. As per estimation, third biggest coal reserve of 185 billion ton exists in Pakistan which is equivalent to 400 billion barrels of oil. In other words, our coal reserves are equivalent to Saudi Arab and Iran’s combined oil reserves.
Recent governments have taken appropriate actions to produce electricity from Thar coal. According to some speculation which may also be wrong that Thar coal is highly unstable which can’t be treated to convert it to energy on earth surface temperature, while same characteristics and nature of coal also exits in Australia which is being process beneath earth to extract energy, government can take expertise from Australian government in this regards to utilize Thar coal.
Recently, Sindh Government has contracted with a multi-national firm and work has been started. Beside this, agreements inked in CPEC (China Pakistan economic Corridor) China will build or help to construct 21 power plants, which will be mainly fuelled by coal. These power generating projects will save huge foreign exchange which is used up on the import of furnace oil.
The second largest oil producing country Iran too is producing electricity from coal. China, itself is producing 75% electricity from coal and is ready to help us produce electricity with coal. The strong lobby of multi-national oil companies sabotage the plans of generating electricity from wind and coal.
World electricity production from gas is 19% while in Pakistan natural gas contributes to produces 29% of total, nuclear energy’s share in world total energy is 16% while in Pakistan is only 2%, while furnace oil contributes 7% to total world electricity generation but in Pakistan it add up 35% to total electricity production. Poland and Germany produces 43% and 80% of electricity from coal respectively.
Countries like South Africa 93%, India 78.3%, Australia 77%, China 72%, America 49%, Denmark 47.3% and UK 32.9% respectively produces electricity from coal. An important and natural resource of alternative energy is wind. Minimum of 13 km/hr wind speed is supposed to be sufficient for converting wind energy to electrical energy through wind turbines.
Germany produces 18000MW, USA produces 7000MW, and Spain produces 8000MW from wind energy. Pakistan have potential places for wind energy like coastal areas of Karachi, Thatta, Jiwani, Baluchistan’s coastal belt, northern areas and Azad Kashmir. Wind energy is of importance as it does not create any environmental pollution at all.
Solar energy is one of the cheapest and important way to harvest energy. The energy received from the sun in one hour is more than the world’s total produced energy in a year. As per analysis if only half
percent of sahara desert land is used for solar energy (Photovoltaic) it would cater the energy demand for the entire world.
Pakistan has much potential for solar energy because Pakistan is receiving 19 mega joules per square meter in a year through which 90% of rural area can be energized. Like wise, geysers run by solar energy can reduce the demand of natural gas in northern areas. Nuclear energy is most sophisticated and advance source to attain energy but on other hand it’s most reliable and sustainable source as well.
We are producing only 600MW electricity from nuclear resources which is only 2% of our total energy production. In the contrary, nations with atomic technology are utilizing nuclear energy to its maximum capacity. Our natural gas reserves are depleting rapidly so therefore, it is necessary to revive the energy mix and produce electricity by means of alternative resources so dependency over the fossil fuel like furnace oil and natural gas could be decreased, which will help to control inflation.
By utilizing only 50% of alternative energy resources available we can export the additional energy to neighbor states. No doubt self-sufficiency in energy is the first key in attaining the country-wide economical and social development.