Islamabad: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday lauded the landmark policy decision of the federal government to use Thar coal for coal-based power generation and all conversions of existing as well as construction of new power projects will be designed on Thar Coal specifications.
The strategic decision is appropriate as prices of imported oil will never come down to reasonable level, gas supply from Iran and Turkmenistan remains uncertain while reserves of native natural gas are depleting, it said.
Pakistan’s energy mix is far from balanced; the power sector is heavily dependent on costly fuel which is among the reasons behind circular debt and high electricity tariff, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
The government should adopt advanced coal conversion technology to transform inefficient gas-based and dual-fuel fired power plants to coal-fired power plants, he said.
Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that government should expedite Environmental Impact Assessment reports and detailed technical and economic feasibility studies needed for conversion.
He said that government announcement to use Thar coal for coal-based power generation will help cut fuel import bill, create thousands of jobs and achieve energy security.
Lauding the realisation on the government level, he said that without Thar coal plan to cut electricity tariff by half can never become.
Government should also make a plan to develop skilled people who can deal with clean coal combustion technology and develop related machinery locally in few years, Dr. Mughal demanded.
He said that government should arrange more funds to safeguard the country’s frail power structure and the rights of consumers who need protection from price spikes as well as power cuts.
Dr. Mughal said that government should do more to encourage wind farms and try building latest nuclear power stations to meet growing energy requirements and ensure sustainable socio-economic development of the country.
There is no harm in using imported coal for few years until country develop skills and infrastructure to utilise Thar coal, the PEW president observed.
Some local and foreign elements who don’t want to see a prosperous Pakistan will resist the government’s decision on different grounds, remarked Dr. Mughal.