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An energy crisis is any great shortfall or price rise in the supply of energy resources to an economy. It usually refers to the shortage of oil and additionally to electricity or other natural resources.
The crisis often has effects on the rest of the economy, with many recessions being caused by an energy crisis in some form. In particular, the production costs of electricity rise, which raises manufacturing costs.
For the consumer, the price of gasoline (petrol) and diesel for cars and other vehicles rises, leading to reduced consumer confidence and spending, higher transportation costs and general price rising.
Future and alternative sources of energy
Some experts argue that the world is heading towards a global energy crisis due to a decline in the availability of cheap oil and recommend a decreasing dependency on fossil fuel. This has led to increasing interest in alternate power/fuel research such as fuel cell technology, hydrogen fuel, biomethanol, biodiesel, Karrick process, solar energy, tidal energy and wind energy. To date, only hydroelectricity and nuclear power have been significant alternatives to fossil fuel (see Future energy development), with big ecological problems (residues and water spending). Hydrogen gas is currently produced at a net energy loss from natural gas, which is also experiencing declining production in North America and elsewhere. When not produced from natural gas, hydrogen still needs another source of energy to create it, also at a loss during the process. This has led to hydrogen being regarded as a 'carrier' of energy rather than a 'source'.
There have been alarming predictions by groups such as the Club of Rome that the world would run out of oil in the late 20th century. Although technology has made oil extraction more efficient, the world is having to struggle to provide oil by using increasingly costly and less productive methods such as deep sea drilling, and developing environmentally sensitive areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The world's population continues to grow at a quarter of a million people per day, increasing the consumption of energy. The per capita energy consumption of China, India and other developing nations continues to increase as the people living in these countries adopt western lifestyles. At present a small part of the world's population consumes a large part of its resources, with the United States and its population of 296 million people consuming more oil than China with its population of 1.3 billion people.
Efficiency mechanisms such as Negawatt power can provide significantly increased supply. It is a term used to describe the trading of increased efficiency, using consumption efficiency to increase available market supply rather than by increasing plant generation capacity.
Energy Crisis In Pakistan
Energy resources have depleted! Whatever resources are available are simply too expensive to buy or already acquired by countries which had planned and acted long time ago. Delayed efforts in the exploration sector have not been able to find sufficient amounts of energy resources. Nations of the world which have their own reserves are not supplying energy resources anymore; only the old contracts made decades ago are active. Airplanes, trains, cars, motorbikes, buses and trucks, all modes of transportation are coming to a stand still. Many industries have closed due to insufficient power supply. Price of oil has gone above the ceiling. At domestic level, alternate methods like solar, biogas and other methods are being tried for mere survival.
The above is a likely scenario of Pakistan and around the globe after 25 years. A pessimistic view, but realistic enough to think about and plan for the future. But are we doing anything about it? Lets have a look at the current energy situation of Pakistan and the world.
Pakistan?s economy is performing at a very high note with GDP growing at an exceptional rate, touching 8.35% in 2004-05.In its history of 58 years, there has been only a few golden years where the economy grew above 7%. This year official expectations are that GDP growth rate will be around 6.5 ? 7.0%. For the coming years, the government is targeting GDP growth rate above 6%. With economy growing at such a pace, the energy requirements are likely to increase with a similar rate. For 2004-05, Pakistan?s energy consumption touched 55.5 MTOE (Million Tons of Oil Equivalent).
The energy consumption is expected to grow at double digit if the overall economy sustains the targeted GDP growth rate of 6% by the government. Pakistan?s energy requirements are expected to double in the next few years, and our energy requirements by 2015 is likely to cross 120MTOE. By 2030, the nation?s requirement will be 7 times the current requirement reaching 361MTOE. Pakistan?s energy requirements are fulfilled with more than 80% of energy resources through imports.
On the other hand, international oil prices have not only broken all records but are touching new highs, with every news directly or indirectly affecting the black gold industry. Moreover, speculators all around the world expect oil prices to touch $100 per barrel in medium term. With concerns over Iran?s nuclear program, terrorist issues in Nigeria and high economic growth in China & India and their ever rising energy requirements, oil prices don?t see any another way but to shoot upwards.
What is the government doing to ensure a sustainable supply of energy resources for economic growth? What strategic steps are being taken to acquire energy resources in future? Is private sector willing to invest in Pakistan?s oil industry? What are the incentives being offered to the foreign players to continue working in the exploration sector? What hurdles are stopping other big players around the world to enter Pakistan? What is the role of gas distribution companies so far? Are the citizens of Pakistan being robbed by energy giants with ever rising utility bills? What should be the real price of petroleum, kerosene and other oil products in Pakistan? When will the nation have ?load shedding free? electric supply? Have we been able to make long term contracts with the countries to provide uninterrupted supply of energy resources? Will the government be able to provide enough sources to the citizens for a sustainable economic growth? Have we lost the race for acquiring maximum energy resources for future survival?
Pakistan: Power crisis feared by 2007
The country may plunge into energy crisis by the year 2007 due to rising electricity demand which enters into double digit figure following increasing sale of electrical and electronic appliances on lease finance, it is reliably learnt Thursday.
?The country may face energy crisis by the year 2007 following healthy growth of 13 per cent in electricity demand during the last quarter, which will erode surplus production in absence of commissioning of any new power generation project during this financial year,? informed sources told The Nation.
As per Pakistan Economic Survey 2003-04, electricity consumption has increased by 8.6 per cent during first three-quarter of last fiscal year. However, a top level WAPDA official maintained that electricity demand surged up to 13 per cent during last quarter.
The survey said household sector has been the largest consumer of electricity accounting for 44.2 per cent of total electricity consumption followed by industries 31.1 per cent, agriculture 14.3 per cent, other government sector 7.4 per cent, commercial 5.5 per cent and street light 0.7 per cent.
Keeping in view the past trend and the future development, WAPDA has also revised its load forecast to eight per cent per annum as against previous estimates of five per cent on average. Even the revised load forecast has also failed all assessments due to which Authority has left no other option but to start load management this year, which may convert into scheduled loadshedding over a period of two year, sources maintained.
The country needs a quantum jump in electricity generation in medium-term scenario to revert the possibilities of loadshedding in future due to shrinking gap between demand and supply of electricity at peak hours.
According to an official report, the gap between firm supply and peak hours demand has already been shrunk to three digit (440 MW) during this fiscal and will slip into negative columns next year (-441 MW) and further intensify to (-1,457 MW) during the financial year 2006-07.
The report maintained that the difference between firm supply and peak demand is estimated at 5,529 MW by the year 2009-10 when firm electricity supply will stand at 15,055 MW against peak demand of 20,584 MW.
Chairman WAPDA Tariq Hamid at a Press conference early this year warned about the possible energy crisis and stressed the need for ?quantum jump? in power generation. The experts say it could only be possible through a mega project of hydropower generation, otherwise the gap between firm supply and peak demand will remain on the rise.
They said the power generation projects, which are due to commission in coming years are of low capacity and will not be able to exceed the surging demand of the electricity.
They say no power generation project will commission during this fiscal year and the total installed capacity of electricity generation will remain 19,478 MW to meet 15,082 MW firm supply and 14,642 MW peak demand.
Giving details of projects, the sources said Malakand-lll (81MW), Pehur (18MW) and combined cycle power plant at Faisalabad (450MW) are planned to be commissioned during the year 2007. Mangla Dam raising project would also add 150 MW capacity to the national grid by June 2007. Besides this, Khan Khwar (72MW), Allai Khwar (121MW), Duber Khwar (130MW) and Kayal Khwar (130MW) are expected to be completed in 2008 along with Golan Gol (106MW) and Jinnah (96MW). Moreover, Matiltan (84MW), New Bong Escape (79MW) and Rajdhani (132MW) are expected by 2009 while Taunsa (120MW) is likely to be completed by 2010.
Sources say WAPDA has also planned to install a high efficiency combined cycle power plant at Baloki (450MW), which is expected to be completed by 2010. In addition of these, power plant 1 & 2 of 300 MW each at Thar Coal with the assistance of China are also planned for commissioning in 2009, sources said. Moreover, efforts are also under way with China National Nuclear Corporation for the construction of a third nuclear power plant with a gross capacity of 325 MW at Chashma, they added.
When contacted, a WAPDA official said there is no power shortage in the country at present as the Authority still has over 1,000 MW surplus electricity. However, he admitted that the shortage may occur in the year 2007 and onward and said the Authority will utilise all options including running of IPPs plant at full capacity to avert any possible crisis.
About the system augmentation to bring down line losses, the official said the Authority would spend Rs 3.5 billion on augmentation of distribution lines this fiscal while another Rs 5 billion will be consumed on transmission lines. ?We have been negotiating Rs 9 billion loan with a consortium of local banks to upgrade and augment the power transmission system,? he disclosed. The official further said that five new transmission lines of 220-KV would be installed by the end of 2004, that would ensure smooth supply to the consumers. He expressed full trust on present transmission and distribution system and said it could easily sustain the load of total installed power generation in the country