Standstill Position of Pakistan’s Steam Power Plants

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As stated in Daily Dawn, keeping in view the historical electrical power surplus capacity in Pakistan approximately 3400 MW, Prime Minister of Pakistan on Friday, 28 October ordered short-term standstill of steam power plants to keep an eye on the financial deficit because of an unwanted capacity trap. Meanwhile a separate load management plan has been chalked out based on demand supply situation by the National Power Control Center.

The Electrical Power Generation industry in the United States after entering the new millennium, had more than 1300 steam turbine power plants at least some thirty years old. With the emergence of a cut-throat competition in industrial market and revised policy frameworks, electric power utilities must aim at optimization of the operation and maintenance of such power plants. It is rather more economical and cost effective to upgrade these power plants with computer supported technological advances like design and development of energy efficient turbine blades with improvised pitch angles ensuring aerodynamic advantage instead of shutting down for a vigilant check and balance that may lead to an unending crisis. Pakistan cannot afford to boycott a technology that has space for improvement if provided with latest overhauling techniques and upgradation schemes. Therefore, retirement of old power plants which have the infrastructure and manpower available may further deteriorate load management problem in the country. We must invest in power system optimization with available resources. As stated by Ministry of Energy, Power Division, the targeted electrical energy surplus for the next four months has been estimated to range between 2400 to 3400 MW approximately. In addition to it, the peak demand for next year summer is estimated to be 25,300 MW against expected generation capacity of 27,700 MW which when compared with India is less than of a single state of India, which has an overall generation capacity of 1,50000 MW.

National Power Control Center had devised a load management plan on Saturday, October 28 to tackle the load demand after the Ministry of Energy decided to close all expensive furnace oil/diesel run power plants of a cumulative capacity of 4250 MW to compensate financial debt with electrical energy surplus in MWs. The furnace oil plants include 950 MW HUBCO, 1000 MW NPGCL Muzaffargarh, 400 MW JPCL Jamshoro and 700 MW KAPCO. After introduction of cascaded tripping in South Punjab and Upper Sindh almost leading to a Domino Effect, the Power Division directed the NPCC to chalk out a separate emergency load management plan for 72 hours till restoration of transmission lines.

In many countries, wind energy now forms a substantial portion of energy production. A few years ago, the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) of Pakistan prepared a wind energy development plan. This targeted 3000 MW by 2016 and 5000 MW by 2020. Germany produces 100 GW from wind energy and 20 GW from solar energy and thus generates 5% more than the current energy demand in the country. Therefore, Germany could completely negate the supply demand gap in 2016 only via clean energy. Today, Germany produces more electricity than it is demanded where consumers are paid in turn to consume electricity through net metering. Geographically, Japan and Sindh province share a size of equivalence. Having said that, Japan produces more electricity than the overall generation capacity of Pakistan.

In summary, Pakistan is lagging in its power generation as compared to most of the developing countries and to accelerate its power generation, it will have to develop 50000 MW from its hydel energy resources. Pakistan has 185 billion tons of coal in Tharparkar desert, which unfortunately has not been efficiently utilized. Wind and solar energy sources too have not been particularly exploited.


Published in: Volume 08 Issue 48

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