Climate Contributes To Lahore Pakistan's Daily Power Blackouts - Australian Coal To The Rescue?
Food Street, Lahore, Pakistan. Image credit:Flickr,PakistaniBloggers: Asif Jafri
People often write of climate associated flooding, loss of agricultural productivity, spread of tropical disease, and so on. The City of Lahore, Pakistan is experiencing a climate associated crisis, as loss of hydroelectric power has forced "load shedding." According to the Daily Times, hydroelectric power generation recently dropped from 6,500 megawatts to 150 megawatts: close to a 98% reduction.There are other significant causative factors; but, a big part of the problem - dried up reservoirs - reflects a changing climate. The result for the citizens of Lahore is no power for up to 15 hours per day. It's the same or worse in other parts of the country.
Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) sources told Daily Times on Thursday that the company had been facing a shortfall of 3,500 to 4,000 megawatts, due to which the company had increased load shedding hours from 12 to 15 hours in Lahore. They said that load shedding in other cities had increased from 16 to 18 hours, while the rural areas were without power for up to 22 hours.Let's assume the hydro-electric plants in Pakistan continue this way for years. Substituting nuclear power is pretty much off the table. According to the World Nuclear Association:
* Pakistan has a small nuclear power program, with 425 MWe capacity, but plans to increase this substantially.
* Pakistan's nuclear weapon capabilities of has arisen independently of the civil nuclear fuel cycle using indigenous uranium.
* Because Pakistan is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, due to its weapons program, it is largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, which hinders its development of civil nuclear energy.
Which leaves imported coal as a fall-back energy source.
Only a very small percentage of Pakistan's electricity is reported to be coal generated. Not to worry: the Australian coal industry has been hot to provide more coal to Pakistan.
"I have received a letter from Australian authorities showing interest in setting up two 1000 MW coal fired power plants in Thar", disclosed Sindh Minister for Mines and Mineral Resources, Irfanullah Khan Marwat while addressing a radio press conference here Tuesday.Via:Pakistan Times, Australia to set up coal fired power plants in Thar
No doubt these severe "load shedding" episodes will increase Australian coal export opportunities.
Pakistan's options look more depressing with every Google step. According to Mining Weekly
Exports from Australia's Newcastle coal port, the world's largest, could double under a state government expansion plan, Port Waratah Coal Services Pty, one of the operators at the port said on Friday.No wonder Australia has refused to participate in the Kyoto treaty.
The proposal by the New South Wales state government calls for a fourth terminal, potentially doubling the capacity to export coal, Port Waratah said in statement.
Maybe they can next line up Iran as a customer?
This year Iran has witnessed a severe drought. The citizens of the scenic city of Esfahan (described as the Florence of the East), were shocked to see that the Zayande rood river, which runs through the city centre, has completely dried up. Similar scenes were reported from other major sources of water.Via:Middle East Energy Analyst, Iran's Genuine Energy Concerns
According to some forecasts, Iran's water problems are only going to get worst in the future. This has meant that instead of producing 6,500 megawatts, Iran hydro electric infrastructure has only produced 1500, thus creating a significant shortage.
What. Really? The Australians already did that, you say?
Major Australian exports to Iran (2007):Via:Austrade
* Coal — A$57 million
* Passenger motor vehicles — A$42 million
* Medicaments (including veterinary) — A$36 million
* Wool — A$9 million
Obviously, this problem calls for much more than a technical solution.