Indus River, Hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, Indus, natural gas
Pakistan’s total output of electricity in 1999 was 62 billion kilowatt-hours. Hydroelectric dams on the Indus and its tributaries help furnish the country’s energy needs, but the supply of hydroelectricity drops sharply during the dry winter months. About 37 percent of the country’s electricity is produced through dams. The country also has natural-gas fields. About 63 percent of the country’s electricity is generated in thermal installations fueled by natural gas and petroleum.
Pakistan has two nuclear power plants, but neither produces a significant amount of electricity. The Karachi plant was built with Canadian help in the early 1960s, and the Chashma plant, on the Indus River in southern Punjab, was built in the 1980s with financial support from China.
Pakistan is not self-sufficient in energy production. The country relies on imported petroleum to fuel its electricity-generating thermal plants. However, the country’s exports bring in hardly enough revenues to meet the cost of petroleum imports. During the 1990s rising oil prices had a devastating effect on the economy, leading to a rise in the country’s foreign debt.
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