KARACHI: Pakistan’s power generation witnessed a sharp decline of 9.5% year-on-year (YoY) in fiscal year 2022-23 (FY23), according to the latest data released by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).
The country produced 129,591 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity in FY23, compared to 143,193 GWh in the previous fiscal year. The average power generation capacity was 14,793 megawatts (MW) in FY23, down from 16,346 MW in FY22.
The main reasons for the lower power generation were the slowdown in economic activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the increase in electricity tariffs that reduced domestic demand, and the challenges faced by some power plants in importing coal and transmitting power.
The data showed that the power generation mix changed significantly in FY23, with a higher share of hydel and nuclear sources and a lower share of furnace oil (FO), coal, regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) and wind sources.
Hydel-based power generation increased by 28% YoY to 36,244 GWh in FY23, accounting for 28% of the total power generation. The increase was mainly driven by the higher generation from Karot Hydro and WAPDA.
Nuclear-based power generation also increased by 32% YoY to 24,061 GWh in FY23, accounting for 18.6% of the total power generation. The increase was mainly due to the addition of the Kanupp-3 plant, which started supplying electricity to the national grid from March 2022.
On the other hand, FO-based power generation decreased by 62% YoY to 5,044 GWh in FY23, accounting for only 3.9% of the total power generation. FO is one of the most expensive sources of power generation and has been gradually phased out by the government.
Coal-based power generation also decreased by 22% YoY to 20,725 GWh in FY23, accounting for 16% of the total power generation. Coal is another expensive and environmentally unfriendly source of power generation. The decline in coal-based power generation was due to the import and transmission constraints faced by some coal-fired power plants, such as China Power Hub Generation and Thar Energy Limited.
RLNG-based power generation decreased by 17% YoY to 22,154 GWh in FY23, accounting for 17.1% of the total power generation. RLNG is a relatively cheaper and cleaner source of power generation, but its availability depends on the international market prices and supply conditions.
Wind-based power generation decreased by 11% YoY to 4,144 GWh in FY23, accounting for 3.2% of the total power generation. Wind is a renewable and low-cost source of power generation, but its output depends on the wind speed and weather conditions.
Gas-based power generation decreased by 2% YoY to 14,512 GWh in FY23, accounting for 11.2% of the total power generation. Gas is a domestic and affordable source of power generation, but its supply is limited and declining due to depleting reserves and low exploration activities.
Solar-based power generation increased by 7% YoY to 1,049 GWh in FY23, accounting for 0.8% of the total power generation. Solar is another renewable and low-cost source of power generation, but its output depends on the solar radiation and weather conditions.
Bagasse-based power generation increased by 10% YoY to 903 GWh in FY23, accounting for 0.7% of the total power generation. Bagasse is a biomass source of power generation that uses sugarcane waste as fuel.
The data also showed that the monthly power generation trend was negative throughout FY23, except for July and August 2022. The lowest monthly power generation was recorded in June 2023 at 13,715 GWh, down by 1% YoY from June 2022.