Pakistan and power shortage go back a long way but the last 10 years have been the most challenging. 10-12 hours of power cuts had become a norm in the urban centers while some rural areas experienced up to 20 hours of load shedding.
In 2013, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political party took over, following the elections, Pakistan’s electricity demand-supply gap had reached up to 8,000 MW. Thus, ending the electricity crisis was the foremost priority of his government.
In the last four years, government has initiated multiple power projects across the country. While few of these projects are sponsored solely by the government, majority are being built in public private partnership mode, mostly through investment under China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
A total of 10,000 MW generation capacity is expected to be added into the system by 2018. Out of these 10,000 MW, approximately 3,000 will come from coal-powered plants, 3,000 from LNG plants, 3,000 from wind, solar and hydropower plants while the remaining will come from extension of existing nuclear plants. The table below lists the large scale power projects that were initiated by this government.
Source: State of Industry Report, 2016
With these power plants commissioned on time, Pakistan would have sufficient generation capacity in 2018 to meet the electricity demand as shown in the figure below.
In more than 65 years since Pakistan’s independence, 25,000 MW of electrical power generation was added to the national grid. If all goes as promised, Nawaz Sharif’s government would have added 10,000 MW in just 5 years. This is definitely a creditworthy achievement of this government.
More than 2,000 MW of generation capacity has already been added into the system. As a result, power cuts have almost halved (going down from 12 hours in 2013 to 6 hours in 2016). Economy is showing signs of recovery as Pakistan has already achieved a growth rate of 5.2%. It is expected to further increase to 7% by 2020 owing to the increased energy and investment,
If the transmission capacity, to evacuate all this additional power, is also added in the given time, Pakistan can soon become a country free of power cuts. However, this might only be a temporary relief if not much is done to address other issues and challenges affecting Pakistan’s power sector.