An important subject as covered in BR issue of June 17 highlights a very important requirement of affordable energy.
In spite of uncontrolled increase in “energy costs”, we really see no effort to check/ensure increased efficiency usage and thus there is no power price control solution in sight.
With reduced water availability our hydel power potential is cut down and our economic survival is at stake.
We have quite a few “combined cycle power plants” which are based on assumption of efficient operation, we simply do not believe in checking the actual “heat rate” which would show how inefficient these power plants are actually operating as fuel guzzlers and how “easy” it is for the authorities to keep on increasing power tariff instead of trying to increase generation efficiency and reduce power tariff?
A good example is KE’s Korangi power plant which was the most efficient power station with gas turbine “inlet air cooling technology” and yet, we not only allowed KE to become inefficient by removing the efficient design and thus produce power at higher cost due to our callous approach. Theoretical high efficiency power plants are operating at much lower efficiency due to higher ambient temperatures and higher altitude.
Unless we ensure efficient design and operation, our gas-fired power plants will continue to produce power at exorbitant costs.
We have huge gas-based expensive thermal power plants with no check on efficiency. Even theoretical “efficient” combined cycle power plants are operated inefficiently for most of the time and the authorities accept inefficient operation with no concern and thus add high fuel costs in the tariff without any hesitation as “pass-through” costs, certainly worst possible policy.
We need to record and publicise the actual efficiency of our thermal power plants so that we know how poorly our thermal power plants are being operated with increasing power tariffs.
If we could ensure more power at less gas consumption per kWH unit from these large power plants, why should we allow expensive power plants to be operated inefficiently in the country?
Engr. Ainul Abedin (Karachi)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022