National Power Control Centre - Islamabad.
The National Power Control Centre Islamabad was inaugurated by Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan, President of Pakistan on 20th January, 1990. This is first phase of the giant project. It envisages implementation of the modern computerized load despatch facilities for operating WAPDA's power system, by setting up of one National Power Control Centre (NPCC) at Islamabad and two Regional Control Centres at Islamabad and Jamshoro for northern and southern parts of the network respectively. The main functions of these Power Control Centres are given below: 1. Real time control of the load generation, power exchanges, voltage regulation, generation reserves and the transmission network; 2. Follow up of efficiency, fault analysis, compilation of statistics, reporting and accounting; 3. Short and long term planning, including load prediction, and generators, schedules, power balance planning, coordination of unit out-ages for maintenance and planning for reserves; and 4. Arranging of routine and emergent shortdowns on generators, transmission lines, power transformers and other components of the power system.
Above functions are to be performed by the Power Control System with the help of hi-tech computers and other modern facilities for power supervisory control, data acquisition and energy management. Under this project all 500 KV, 220 KV and some of the important 132 KV grid stations have been connected to the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system.
Long association of Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan with WAPDA and its expansion are reflected in his speech. The President inter alia said that WAPDA came into being in 1958 and it was a unique development as it involved a radical departure from the traditional method of public business being handled by a functional government department. WAPDA, while remaining strictly accountable to the Government for results, was to have the drive, vitality and administrative independence and manoeuvrability to move with speed and efficiency about its charter.
The story of WAPDA's growth reflects the socio-economic growth of Pakistan over the last three decades. The WAPDA's activities show the running of factories as well as agricultural operations, illumination of our homes, and schools and hospitals, for the reclamation of waterlogged and saline land and other socio-economic gains. Some of the gains are reflected in facts and figures. The WAPDA's power generation capacity increased from 119 MW in 1959 to 7000 MW at present. During the same period, the number of grid stations increased from 59 to 560, the length of transmission and distribution lines from 7,000 km to 240,000 km long enough to round the globe six times over and the number of electrified villages from 609 to over 34,000 and total consumers from 300,000 to over 7 million.
In addition, the WAPDA was responsible for the implementation of gigantic engineering projects of colossal dimensions envisaged in the Indus Water Treaty, which were completed by WAPDA within the stipulated time frame and at over $300 million less than the estimated cost, and it also completed the reclamation of 12.8 million acres of land under 46 SCARPs projects. At the same time, some problems remain to be solved. Like other developing countries, in Pakistan supplies of energy lag behind the demand due to rapid urbanisation, increased tempo of industrial and agricultural development, village electrification and economic prosperity manifesting itself in higher energy consumption. Even the suppressed demand for power during the last decade has been in double digit. Between 1985 and 1989, it grew at an annual rate of 12.25 per cent, against the GDP growth rate of 6 per cent. Earlier, it was growing even faster doubling every four years. Another problem was that the Government and the World Bank did not accept WAPDA's projections resulting in large demand-supply gap.
Very high growth rate of population has pressurized national resources including power. Per capita consumption of electricity in Pakistan which is a yardstick of economic progress, although highest among the SAARC countries, is only 265 KWH per annum, as compared to 700 in Iran and 11,000 in the USA. It is still worse as major portion of power generation being hydel, it is susceptible to variation in snow-melts; river flows and irrigation requirements and is not dependable as steady source of supply without being firmed up by other means. In lean water months, load-shedding is forced, which causes an annual loss of Rs. 10 billion and inconvenience to the people.
Overall energy situation is grim. Shortage of energy necessitates 70-75 per cent imports of oil, and 25-30 per cent of total energy requirements. Overall per capita energy consumption in Pakistan is less than 0.3 TOE (tons of oil equivalent) a year which is one sixth of the world average and one thirtieth of the USA. The proven per capita reserves of fossil fuels, including oil, gas and coal are only about 4 TOE and are likely to exhaust soon. Known oil reserves are only 151 million tonnes, and unless fresh discoveries are made, are likely to disappear in a few years. Existing gas reserves of 19.5 trillion cubic feet and coal reserves of 198 million tonnes are likely to last longer.
However, present trend of population and economic growth will require energy around 250 per cent of existing supplies at the end of the century which would need at least 22,000 MW of installed capacity to support modest economic growth rate of 5 per cent a year. To achieve it, 14,000 MW should be added. This is a matter of urgency and failure to achieve this objective will put country's economic future in jeopardy. It should be taken up seriously and approach to it should be multi-dimensional covering better exploitation of known resources, exploration of new ones, faster search for non-conventional deposits, conservation efforts, and much more allocation of funds. Private sector should support the public sector.
Highest priority is being given to oil and gas exploration, which accounts for 55 per cent of total energy supply, and the demand for which is likely to quadruple in the next 15 years. Import bill of oil before the Gulf crises was $ 1.2 billion a year. Now, it should be around $ 2 billion. Because of the break out of the Gulf War, import bill should be still higher. To overcome the problem, efforts are being made to increase oil production and daily production has been increased to 70,000 barrels. It is likely to be doubled in the next few years. However, oil burning for power generation is not a wise step as it is wiser to use it in transportation and petrochemical industry. Same is the case with natural gas which is better to use it as domestic fuel and industrial raw material than to burn it in thermal power stations.
Coal is a better alternative but unfortunately it is low grade with high sulphur content. Three coal-fired units are being built, using fluidized bed technology with Chinese aid and in case of success bigger plants will be set up. The Government is giving high priority to hydel power. A number of prospective sites have been identified and most suitable ones are being selected. However, hydropower generation is capital intensive with long gestation period. The country cannot rely on hydel power for more than half of the demand. Energy conservation should be attempted. The trend is encouraging. Further, it is commendable that WAPDA has reduced technical losses from 38 per cent in 1978 to 21 per cent in 1990. Both these have limitations as technical losses cannot be reduced much further and energy conservation is short-term.
Country's problem of energy shortage can be solved through atomic energy and according to a survey of the IAEA, Pakistan needs 20 nuclear power plants with total generation capacity of 9000 MW of power. The Government of Pakistan is anxious to implement IAEA's recommendations but these are retarded by international technological imperialism. Pakistan says again and again that she uses nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only. Two nuclear plants of 900 MW and 300 MW capacity are being negotiated with France and China respectively. If set up, these are likely to save the country about 1.7 million tons of oil costing about $ 375 million at today's prices. Nuclear fuel costing about $ 50 million will save $ 300 million a year. Efforts are being made to build nuclear reactors ourselves. Considerable progress has been made in this direction. Other non-conventional energy resources can also be used.
Welcome address was read by the Chairman WAPDA, Lt. Gen (Retd.) Zahid Ali Akbar Khan. In it, the Chairman disclosed that the project had cost the country Rs. 1.55 billion. It will play an important role in the energy and economic sectors. When WAPDA took over the Electricity Operations Department in 1959, there were only 12 isolated power stations whose transmission and distribution systems were restricted to their adjoining areas only. Total installed capacity was 119 MW only. Some of these stations had surplus power capacity and to use it more economically, a Central Load Despatch Centre was set up in the premises of Shalimar Grid Station. Initially, it started with the help of a wooden board mounted on the wall with maps pasted on it to show the location of various power stations and sub-stations.
In 1968, a Load Despatch Centre was set up at Kot Lakhpat near Lahore. The facilities there included power line carrier communication to all power stations and installation of luminous switching diagram Mosaic Board showing static condition of the national grid. From it until recently, continued flow of power throughout the country has been controlled. However, this centre was not enough to manage the expanding power system. Now, the National grid has the power capacity of 7000 MW and serves more than 7 million consumers through 560 grid stations and 240,000 Km of transmission and distribution lines of various capacities. The need for a modern Load Despatch Centre was felt with latest techniques available through the advent of computer technology, technical advancement in the fields of communications, system control and data acquisition.
Thus the project was initiated and first phase has been completed which is in full operation. All stations are now being controlled from Islamabad. It involved one National Control Centre at Islamabad and two Regional Control Centres at Islamabad and Jamshoro. The functions are being performed by modern equipment and technology. For management of the WAPDA power system data from various stations is received and instructions are issued through the centres telecommunication system. The telecommunication network consists of power line carrier system, telephony and telex systems and it has been modernized. A microwave system has been set up between Islamabad and Jamshoro.
The project will help improve energy utilization through most economical generation and load despatching. Losses will be reduced and WAPDA's revenues improved. Total cost has a foreign exchange component of Rs. 758.66 million which has been extended by various international financial agencies. This is first phase of the project and facilities will be increased with the expansion of the power demand and supply. During the last 10 years the growth rate of power has been 10 to 12 per cent a year. In the coming years the growth rate is likely to increase sharply.