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Solar, wind and geothermal power seen solution to energy crisis

Aug 5, 2011 - Bill Opalka -

PESHAWAR: After hydroelectricity, the solar, wind and geothermal power is the best alternative for thermal power to overcome the deepening energy crisis in the country, said experts at a seminar here on Sunday.

Almighty Allah has blessed Pakistan with a lot of natural resources like water, wind, solar system as well as coal which could be used for cheep electricity, they said while addressing a seminar on ‘Energy Crisis in Pakistan: Solutions for Sustainable Growth’ organised by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Youth Wing and Water & Power Action Committee.

Dr Ikhtiar from the Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar, said solar energy was the best and suitable form for Pakistan. Citing a report of the Energy Development Board, he said the country had a potential of generating 2.9 million megawatts electricity from the sun, while its demerits were also little as compared to other sources like oil, gas and coal, which has environmental and other problems as well, besides heavy cost.

“The oil reserves will exhaust in the next 30 years and coal in 100 years though Pakistan claims of having coal reserves for 500 years,” he said, adding that Pakistan would not be able to generate electricity from coal if the world loses coal reservoir because then heavy carbon tax would be levied on Pakistan.

He said that since climate change was also a major challenge, electricity generated from oil and coal would become an issue in future while solar energy had no environmental hazards.

Prof Dr Niamatullah Khattak, however, argued that power generated through wind was the best suitable option for Pakistan, which has more potential of such kind of energy. Pakistan has a long costal area of 700/800 kilometres besides hilly areas like Kalam where wind is available throughout the year, he added.

Dr Qaiser Iqbal, assistant professor at the University of Engineering & Technology, suggested geothermal power and said the country had potential of 100,000 megawatts electricity generated through this technology. Solar and hydel power is also the cheapest sources of energy, he said. He said Pakistan was generating just seven percent from coal against the world standard of 41 percent though the country has huge reserves of coal. The oil reserves would expire in next 40 years, gas in 80 and coal in 150 years. However, oil prices would go up to the extent of becoming unbearable for ordinary use, he argued.

The seminar participants and experts were of the view that solar, wind, geothermal and hydel power generation were the best option with Pakistan, which has an abundance of such resources and little demerits as compared to power generation through oil, gas and coal.

PML-N leader Senator Iqbal Zafar Jhagra in his address, as chief guest, said that the country had resources and talent that needed proper exploitation. He said presently circular debt was the problem leading to energy crisis in the country.

Electricity generation capacity in the country was 21,000 megawatts against the demand of 15,000 to 16,000 megawatts, but it was due to the government failure, which could not resolve the circular issue and created crisis in the country, he added.

“‘If there is a will, there is a way,’ Pakistan has potentials and talent but lacks honest and sincere leadership,” he said. He said the unwise and unrealistic policies of the rulers pushed the country into crisis, adding that it was PML-N and its leadership, which always raised voice for the rights of the masses.

“Judges were restored after the PML-N long march and electricity loadshedding problem was also solved when the party staged a sit-in and payment was released to oil companies,” he added.

Jharga said he was proud of the young talent and the suggestions forwarded at the seminar. He also appreciated the PML-N youth wing for organising the event.

MPA Meher Sultana, the youth wing provincial organiser, provincial organising secretary Mian Rashid Ali, Water and Power Action Committee convener for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, also addressed and called for energy conservation and taking urgent steps for power generation. They also called for doing away with rental power projects. Raising awareness among the masses regarding power conservation was also urged.