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The News

Published Date: Jul 15, 2014

Country could have saved Rs79bn in gas use: study

An eminent energy expert Arshad H Abbasi associated with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in a study said that if the Kalabagh Dam had been operational in 1993, it could have saved 13.87 percent of 25 trillion extracted gas reserves and Rs79 billion from consumption and Rs128 billion against oil consumption.

Highlighting the reasons how Kalabagh Dam is vital for the survival of Pakistan, he said, Pakistan is facing unprecedented power deficit of almost close to 8,000MW per day, mainly due to less generation of electricity and dilapidated electricity transmission system.

If the Kalabagh Dam had become operational by 1993, then by 2010, it had been producing 11,400GWh (million units) of energy.

foremost objective of the author of the study is to determine the damages incurred as a result of delay in Kalabagh Dam. It also aims at analysing the role of Kalabagh Dam in endemic gas crisis and to quantify
the loss due to delay in the project.

Furthermore, the study evaluated the role of hydropower projects in providing cheap and reliable electricity in order to assess the savings in terms of generation cost.

Pakistan is facing an energy crisis since
2007, which is mainly due to the undiversified energy mix. There is a heavy reliance on conventional sources of energy and hydropower energy, which is the cheapest and reliable source and accounts for only 33.2 percent of the generation mix.

The development of Tarbela and Mangla dams in the 60s and 70s promoted tremendous economic growth within the country, according to the study. Unfortunately, this pace of hydropower development could not be maintained and, in the 90s, electricity generation using hydropower was replaced with thermal energy
supported by the government policies.

During this time, the only significant hydropower project that could have been developed was the Kalabagh Dam. Despite, the completion of feasibility studies and
initial assessments of the project, it was never completed.

energy crisis would not have transformed into such hopeless picture, if
the dam had been built on time. The hydropower is the most cost effective way of catering to the increasing energy demands and every effort should be made no to repeat the mistakes of Kalabagh Dam project,
the study proposed.

The local electricity demand has been
outstripping the supply for more than three to four years. It is estimated that if the Kalabagh Dam had been completed, the energy crisis
would not have transformed into such a grave situation.

paper assesses the loss in terms of gas crisis due to delay in the Kalabagh Dam and its pivotal role in curbing this situation.

study says that the idea of Kalabagh Dam was perceived in 1953 and it was scheduled to be completed in 1993. The proposed site for the dam is situated in Kalabagh across the River Indus in Mianwali District of Punjab, bordering KPK preserved close to 13.9 percent of the 25 trillion
extracted reserves and 6.2 percent of the total reserves of this finite
and exceedingly valuable energy source.

Of the total gas consumed from 1993 to 2009, the construction of the Kalabagh Dam would have saved a maximum of 2.7 trillion CF from the consumption of 10.9 trillion CF; this equals to 24.8 percent of the total gas consumed during this period. The construction of the Kalabagh Dam, the study says, would have effectively diffused dependence on gas and save this finite reserve for household and transportation consumption.

2008-09, gas consumed by the household sector stood at 214.1 billion CF
and by transport sector at 88.3 billion cubic feet. With the construction of the Kalabagh Dam, the energy demands of other sectors could have been met in the most appropriate manner.

The closure of CNG stations and load-shedding of gas supply, which is leading to greater social unrest today, could have effectively been averted.

Based on the consumption figures of 2008-09, exclusive use of natural gas preserved through the construction of Kalabagh in the transport sector would have ensured its constant supply for another 31 years.

Similarly, household supply of natural gas could have been maintained for another 12.8 years.

study suggests that the introduction of tele-metering system will ensure transparent water management between provinces in Pakistan. One of the main factors of the closure of the Kalabagh Dam project was the trust deficit between the provinces, which led to claims of “water stealing”.

Further expansion of hydropower, critically depends on fostering an atmosphere of trust between the provinces, so that the mutual benefits of hydropower can be attained, it suggested.

also recommends extensive expansion of the use of hydropower and raising its share in the overall energy mix of the country, arguing that
Pakistan is endowed with vast potential of hydropower, of which only 13
percent have been utilised so far.

Technical expertise and suitable terrains for hydropower development are available in the country, making hydropower a rational option to cater to the energy demand.

In addition, hydropower plants last longer and ensure reliable, efficient and cheap source of energy. The use of hydropower to cater to the energy needs is a sustainable option, which is not only renewable but is also environmental-friendly.