Pakistan is aiming to add 5,770 megawatts of electricity to its national grid by 2018 as the country is struggles to overcome chronical energy shortages which has hampered growth and forced many factories to close.
The South Asia’s second biggest economy after India currently produces about 15,886 MW against the demand of 19,500 MW, leaving the gap of over 3,500 MW. But, shortages rise to nearly 6,000 MW during peak summers, forcing the government to cut power between 8 to 12 hours a day to manage the demand.
International donors estimate energy shortage, including gas shortages, eats away between 1 to 2 percent of GDP every year. Pakistan’s textile sector takes the most hit which accounts for over 50 percent of the country’s exports.
The United States is also helping Pakistan to address its energy problem and energy forms the largest portfolio of U.S. civilian assistance to Pakistan. The U.S.-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership is building on the country’s existing energy resources, including hydro, natural gas, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.
Pakistan’s ongoing projects in the energy sector include Sahiwal Coal Power Plant (1350MW), Port Qasim Power Plant (1320 MW), two nuclear Power Plants (650 MW), Neelum Jhelum (950 MW) and Tarbella 4 Extension (1500 MW). Besides, the government is also working on conversion of Guddu Power and Nadipur Power plants on gas and three LNG-fired power plants in Punjab.
All these projects are projected to complete by mid-2018, when the country will have its general election to elect the next government. The present government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assumed power in June, 2013 after a landslide victory. This is Sharif’s third term as the Prime Minister.