KARACHI: K-Electric (KE), which is struggling to meet the Karachi’s power demand at present, wants to become a net exporter of electricity by 2020, its chief executive officer (CEO) said on Thursday, while stressing that the country’s future policies should prioritise transmission and distribution instead of generation.
The company plans to invest $2.8 billion over the next five to eight years to achieve this ambitious plan and to improve its infrastructure, Tayyab Tareen said.
Speaking at a forum entitled ‘Pakistan’s Power Sector: Electricity Availability and Cost’ organised by the Pakistan Business Council, he said KE has already invested more than $1.2bn in generation capacity, transmission networks and distribution services since 2009.
“Under a challenging environment, the company has added 1,000 megawatts in the past six years and recently announced to invest over $400 million in transmission upgrades,” Mr Tareen said.
Upcoming initiatives by the utility — Karachi’s sole power distribution company — included a 700MW coal-fired power project at Port Qasim which would help it diversify its fuel mix, he added.
Asif Saad, K-Electric’s chief operating officer, highlighted the need for an investor-friendly power policy to attract private capital and foreign investment in the transmission and distribution businesses.
He said returns on distribution, which were the lowest as compared to generation and transmission, needed to be increased to make the sector attractive for the private sector.
On the occasion, KE’s Chief Generation and Transmission Officer Dale Sinkler discussed the shortcomings in the power policy which he said limited private sector investments in transmission.
‘Fuel mix unsustainable’
Hub Power Company (Hubco) CEO Khalid Mansoor said that around 31 per cent, or 51m, Pakistanis were without electricity as compared to 11pc (2m) people in Sri Lanka, 25pc (304m) in India and 68pc (621m) in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Pakistan’s energy fuel mix is not sustainable due to high share of oil-based power generation, resulting in very high cost of electricity.
The Hubco chief said the share of oil used in power generation in the country was 38pc compared to 29pc of hydroelectric, 3.2pc nuclear, 29pc gas and 0.5pc others. In contrast, India used 59pc coal for power generation, 9pc gas, 16pc hydroelectric, 1pc diesel, 2pc nuclear and 13pc other renewable sources, he said.
The global share of coal in power generation stands at 40pc, 18pc hydroelectric, 13pc nuclear, 3pc other renewables, 22pc gas and 4pc oil. The share of power generation through coal in China is 78pc, followed by 59pc in India, 47pc in Germany and 39pc in the United States.