Nuclear power plants in Pakistan generated 15,540 GWH of electricity in 2021, a jump of 66% over 2020. Overall, Pakistan's power plants produced 136,572 GWH of power, an increase of 10.6% over 2020, indicating robust economic recovery amid the COVID19 pandemic.
|Pakistan Electric Power Generation. Source: Arif Habib|
Hydroelectric dams contributed 37,689 GWH of electricity or 27.6% of the total power generated, making hydropower the biggest contributor to power generated in the country. It is followed by coal (20%), LNG (19%) and nuclear (11.4%).
|Cost Per Unit of Electricity in Pakistan. Source: Arif Habib|
|Pakistan Electric Power Generation Fuel MiX. Source: Arif Habib|
Construction of 1,100 MW nuclear power reactor K2 unit in Karachi was completed by China National Nuclear Corporation in 2019, according to media reports. Fuel is being loaded in a similar reactor unit K3 which will add another 1,100 MW of nuclear power to the grid in 2022. Chinese Hualong One reactors being installed in Pakistan are based on improved Westinghouse AP1000 design which is far safer than Chernobyl and Fukushima plants.
The biggest and most important source of low-carbon energy in Pakistan is its hydroelectric power plants, followed by nuclear power. Pakistan ranked third in the world by adding nearly 2,500 MW of hydropower in 2018, according to Hydropower Status Report 2019. China added the most capacity with the installation of 8,540 megawatts, followed by Brazil (3,866 MW), Pakistan (2,487 MW), Turkey (1,085 MW), Angola (668 MW), Tajikistan (605 MW), Ecuador (556 MW), India (535 MW), Norway (419 MW) and Canada (401 MW).
|New Installed Hydroelectric Power Capacity in 2018. Source: Hydroworld.com|
Hydropower now makes up about 28% of the total installed capacity of 33,836 MW as of February, 2019. WAPDA reports contributing 25.63 billion units of hydroelectricity to the national grid during the year, “despite the fact that water flows in 2018 remained historically low.” This contribution “greatly helped the country in meeting electricity needs and lowering the electricity tariff for the consumers.”
|Pakistan's Current Account Balance vs International Oil Prices. Source: Arif Habib|
Recent history shows that Pakistan's current account deficits vary with international oil prices. Pakistan's trade deficits balloon with rising imported energy prices. One of the keys to managing external account balances lies in reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil and gas.
|Pakistan Power Generation Fuel Mix. Source: Third Pole|
It is true that Pakistan has relied on imported fossil fuels to generate electricity. The cost of these expensive imported fuels like furnace oil mainly used by independent power producers (IPPs) has been and continues to be a major contributor to the "exaggerated external demand driven by its rentier economy" referred to by Atif Mian in a recent tweet. However, Pakistan has recently been adding hydro, nuclear and indigenous coal-fired power plants to gradually reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels.
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