Nuclear energy becomes the top electricity source for Pakistan
For the first time, nuclear energy surpassed all other sources of power in Pakistan and provided over 27% of the country’s energy needs in December 2022 at a cost of less than half a US cent.
For the first time, nuclear energy surpassed all other sources of power in Pakistan and provided over 27% of the country’s energy needs in December 2022 at a cost of less than half a US cent. In November, nuclear energy was the second largest source of electricity after hydropower, with 2,338 GWh generated. Pakistan has been making efforts to increase the use of cleaner energy sources in its energy mix, as carbon-based power, particularly oil and gas, are not only harmful to the environment but also costly. Every year, Pakistan spends billions of dollars on importing fossil fuels.
In December, nuclear energy accounted for 27.15% of the total electricity generated, amounting to 2,284.8 GWh at a cost of Rs1.073/unit. Hydropower was the next largest source, making up 20.44% (1,720.4 GWh), followed by coal-based power at 18.1% (1,520.9 GWh) at a cost of Rs11.5/unit, natural gas at 15.13% (1,273.8 GWh) at a cost of Rs10.5/unit, and RLNG at 13.7% (1,153.7 GWh) at a cost of Rs20.2/unit. Additionally, 0.46% (38.91 GWh) of electricity was generated from furnace oil at a cost of Rs25.7971/unit, with no electricity generated from high-speed diesel. Wind power contributed 2.5% (211.6 GWh) to the national grid, bagasse-based power made up 1.2% (101 GWh) at a cost of Rs5.97/unit, and solar-based energy contributed 0.8% or 69.5 GWh in December 2022.
This resulted in a significant decrease of 14.5% in Pakistan’s power generation cost in December 2022, according to data released on Thursday. The data also revealed that overall power generation in the country declined by 4.7% in December compared to the same month of the previous year.
The decrease in fuel cost was mainly due to an increase in nuclear and solar-based generation, as well as a 14% year-on-year decline in the cost of coal-based generation due to the addition of local coal-based plants. The increase in fuel cost month-on-month was attributed to a decline in hydropower and nuclear-based generation, according to Tahir Abbas, Head of Research at Arif Habib Limited.
In its petition to NEPRA, the CPPA-G, on behalf of XWDiscos, stated that for December, the reference fuel charges from consumers were Rs9.3193/unit while the actual fuel cost was Rs7.1198/unit. During December, 8,416.91 GWh of electricity was generated at Rs59.289 billion (or Rs7.0441/unit).
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