Tharparkar’s third power plant has successfully been launched, helping the country produce electricity at a cheaper rate all the while enabling the government to save up on foreign exchange reserves through cutting the import bill. We have come one step closer to ensuring that our current and future energy demands are met. But, however effective or cost-efficient the power plant may be, there are still problems with distribution systems that render this achievement useless. Furthermore, coal dependent power plants are still a glaring environmental hazard that the government must consider moving away from. We must change to green energy in the long-term which means steps must be taken now.

According to details released, the total production capacity on Thar coal has increased to 990 megawatts in the last three years. By December of 2023, it is expected to go up to 2600 megawatts. This excessive amount of power is being produced at significantly cheaper rates due to the abundance with which coal is present in Thar. As of right now, the country has 175 billion tonnes of coal reserves which is enough to meet electricity demand for the next several centuries. So, production is much cheaper since the source is local and prices are relatively stable. This has enabled us to save at least $200 million in foreign reserves from July 2019 to February 2022.

As productive as the power plant may be, we should still keep in mind that it depends on other mechanisms to be utilised fully. In a recent report, the authorities pointed out that often, inefficiencies of power distribution companies and systems counteract the performance of highly productive power plants. This not only entails that millions are being funneled down the drain but that we are wasting our reserves. This is especially problematic if we consider that power generation through coal is already a great environmental hazard that will impact the country in the long-term. So while we focus on production, we should also pay attention to other systems that they are dependent on for success.

At the same time, while it may be easier and cheaper to use coal for power generation, the government must also look at greener alternatives so that our later generations do not have to pay the price for short-term policy making.