No alternate for hydel power


These days Punjab govt is planning for alternate energy resources including, solar, wind and coal. Actually none of these resources produce water that is required for food and fibre production that are twin engines for agricultural development as also for Industry being the cheapest source of power generation. We have potential of thousands of MW of cheap hydel energy that can only be produced by water stored in megadams for which sites are available in Pakistan. Our problem cannot be solved by producing 250 MW of wind power projects of which expensive technology has been developed by Western countries where they have exhausted sites for dams.

The latest example of Three Gorges dam of China producing 22,000 MW of cheap power and providing water for 30 per cent crops of China in addition to protecting life and property from flood damages is a shining beacon for the world. When we talk of alternate energy sources unfortunately we never mention the higher cost per unit of power which is crucial in a poor country like Pakistan. High cost of producing textiles has driven this industry to other countries, which was the basic industry of Pakistan. So much so that even poultry industry is now worth more than textiles.

The hydel potential of Pakistan is 60,000 (sixty thousand) MW of power but hardly 11 per cent of this source is utilised so far. In past four decades we have not built a single megadam while India has built 4,000 dams and China 27,000 dams which shows our disability that does not seems to have been noticed by the energetic Khadim-e-Aala as he is so far intent on alternate sources of energy like coal and solar that are expensive and difficult to install due to large unpopulated areas separated from consumption centres in urban areas. If sufficient interest of our planners were to be focused on hydel energy, China could have helped us in dam technology as having made the largest dam in the world.