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How is the development of alternative energy sources in Pakistan?

  • Problems encountered by domestic traditional energy

The Pakistan government has made a lot of efforts for the development of alternative energy sources. At the same time, it has also formulated many plans to realize the transformation from oil and coal power generation to solar power generation. Pakistan has huge local alternative energy resources, such as large coal reserves and viable renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydropower. Still there is much efforts needed to achieve huge transformation to develop alternative energy for the growth of Pakistan economy and image. And to counter this there are issues include lack of oil, Pakistan continues to rely heavily on imported fossil oil to meet most of its thermal power needs. The country imports approximately 7.8 million tons of crude oil and 5.2 million tons of petroleum products annually; though the natural gas reserves are large, the consumption is also large, and cannot meet the needs of its economic development; the coal mining capacity is insufficient, leading to the frequent introduce foreign capital and technology; energy imports take up a lot of financial resources and cause budgetary burdens. The total amount of energy imported by Pakistan each year exceeds approximately US$5 billion, accounting for approximately 30% of the total import volume in the fiscal year.

Availability and efficient distribution of energy is a burden

When talking about Thar coal, the former prime minister said: “Thar coal is an expensive fuel. It is expected the price will remain for 15-20 years. This is mainly due to the large investment required, much time consumption, and the high production cost.

Pakistan’s current energy structure is 34.6% for natural gas, 31.2% for oil, 27% for hydropower, 2.7% for nuclear energy, and 1.1% for renewable energy.

The government did not spread the decentralized issuance to the provinces (so that it can be effectively managed), but instead enacted a law to transfer revolving debt to consumers.

The Pakistan Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) is responsible for the national new energy planning and construction work, mainly for:

Wind energy: Pakistan’s high-quality wind power generation areas are mainly concentrated in Sindh province. There are 9,700 square kilometers of land suitable for building wind farms, and the wind energy reserves are 43,000MW. At present, there are twenty 50MW wind power projects in Pakistan. Among them, the fastest progressing one has completed the installation of 6MW, and 14 have completed the feasibility study.

Hydroelectric power generation: The total energy reserve of hydroelectric power generation in Pakistan is 56721MW, which is mainly concentrated on the Indus River and its tributaries. The total capacity is 43786MW.

Bioenergy: Its production in Pakistan is still in its infancy. Currently, there is one biodiesel production plant, which produces 18,000 tons of biodiesel per year.

Waste incineration power generation: AEDB has signed a feasibility study cooperation agreement with a foreign company, and is preparing to conduct detailed analysis and research in 20 cities across the country.

Solar energy: Pakistan’s solar power generation is still in the research stage. It plans to install 20,000 solar panels in the Gilgit-Baltistan region as a pilot.

Renewable Energy Management Committee is established to promote the development of renewable energy and build small solar and wind power stations in remote areas where it is impossible to use the national grid. The government encourages the use of renewable energy (solar, wind, and biomass, etc.), especially in remote regions.

Cooperate with foreign enterprises to realize the comprehensive development of renewable energy
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project is a very important project, which is very important to the economies of both countries. In Pakistan, this project has made a great contribution to the development of the country.

The emerging role of local and foreign private companies participating in energy production as part of the CPEC project will help stimulate Pakistan’s new energy development potential, remove obstacles, and ultimately fill up the frustrating gap in its electricity demand/supply matrix.

At present, the total amount of renewable energy projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is 1,000 megawatts of photovoltaic and 398 megawatts of wind energy. Pakistan’s ‘removal of coal’ means greening of energy, which will undoubtedly usher in the leap-forward development of renewable energy.

In the past 5 years, Pakistan has completed 18 wind power projects with a total installed capacity of 937MW, 6 solar power projects with a total installed capacity of 418MW, and 6 biomass energy projects with a total installed capacity of 201MW.

After carefully considering the environmental and social impacts, the government believes that the construction of important reservoirs and water conservancy projects can not only improve the annual water flow and availability, but also expand Pakistan’s hydroelectric power generation capacity and allow renewable resources to meet 60% of the country’s capacity.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor jointly promoted by China and Pakistan has also played a key role in Pakistan’s clean energy strategy. As the key renewable energy projects such as photovoltaic power generation, wind power and hydropower are completed and connected to the grid for power generation. Pakistan can not only get rid of the chronic problem of power outage and lack of electricity, and also made a useful supplement to the optimization of the energy structure.

Pakistan also intends to establish an inspection laboratory with national and international double standards to test the performance of equipment such as solar panels and wind turbines to ensure the high quality, safety, and efficiency of local manufacturing equipment.

The person in charge of the World Bank in Pakistan pointed out that the large-scale construction of clean power will enable Pakistan to obtain short-term and long-term benefits at the same time, while considering economic development and environmental protection.

“The vigorous development of solar and wind energy can strengthen power supply security and put Pakistan at the forefront of the global energy transition.” He said, “In fact, the advantages of Pakistan’s clean energy power generation have gradually emerged.”

The contributor Vaedy Xiao is from Fote Company

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