National Electric Power Regulatory Authority said that Pakistan’s consumption of coal is meant to increase manifold from 5 – 15 million tonnes per annum or more.

The power regulator for periodic fuel price adjustment for coal-run power project revealed their plan to hire external consultants to prepare a guidebook.

NEPRA said there were at least 3 under-construction coal projects will be soon commenced for operation in the 2 years whereas some bagasse-based cogeneration power plants were also using coal with unavailability of bagasse. Global coal consumption fell by a record amount last year.

A report published by the BP detailed that global coal consumption fell by 1.7% previous year. In the US, dropped by nearly 10%t, In China by 1.6% in 2016, compared with an average 3.7 % annual expansion in the previous 11 years. In the UK, coal demand fell by 52.5% with increased approach towards renewable energy. However, the power regulator said the Pakistan coal market was destined to increase. “There is will be a massive work load on an episodic basis to revise in fuel cost component for above-mentioned power plants.” Hence, the authority needs to hire an individual consultant for preparing a manual for episodic fuel price adjustment to verify the coal price of each cargo delivered to the coal-based power plants and independently recommend a final coal price of each coal cargo shipment received during a month, it said. “The consultant will make detailed review of the pricing mechanism as specified in the NEPRA’s determination and accordingly formulate manual/guidelines to fix different parameters.” Pakistan is producing 3.5 million tonnes coal at present and importing 4 to 5 million tonnes to meet requirements of sectors every year like steel, cement and power generation.

Pakistan mainly imports coal from Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and US.

It is pertinent to mention here that coal-fired power plants emit 84 of the 187 hazardous air pollutants identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), threatening human health and the environment.

They emit volatile organic compounds, including benzene, toluene, and xylene along with cadmium, chromium, dioxins, formaldehyde, furans, lead, nickel. Acid gases such as hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride and trivial amounts of radioactive materials such as radium, thorium, and uranium are also emitted.