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A brief review of some initiatives: Ease dependence on imported fuel

Ease dependence on imported fuel
Solar energy

Pakistan has a population of over 225 million. Approximately 88 percent of the population has access to electricity while 12 percent remains un-electrified. The annual per capita electricity consumption in Pakistan is around 550 kWh as compared with the world average of 3,081 kWh per capita. The energy sector has pivotal importance for the people as well as the industries and trade in the country. At the moment fuel prices are skyrocketing which has made thermal energy expensive. Pakistan targets an on-grid Alternative Renewable Energy (ARE) generation mix of 20 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. Solar energy is very critical to Pakistan’s need today. Pakistan is blessed with an abundance of solar energy potential, but this potential has not been harnessed except for some projects. Chinese companies manufacturing solar panels will have to play a crucial role in the generation of Alternative Renewable Energy (ARE) in Pakistan. At the moment, according to a market survey, more than 90 percent of solar panels and other related equipment are being imported from China. Chinese companies are executing and running solar power projects in Pakistan including 300 MW solar power projects which is operational under the umbrella of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Electric vehicles

Amid fear of further rise in fuel prices, people are looking for transportation alternatives and are slowly and gradually inclining towards electric vehicles. Presently, the options available are limited and costly but as more new players are entering the market, the environment is getting more conducive. Changan Motors and Nayyer Motor Company have come up with their own variants. Hyundai is going to launch its own brand soon. Moreover, Audi and Siemens have installed first ever ultra-rapid DC charging station in Pakistan. It has been over 50 years we have been building electric motors in Pakistan – from water pumps to fans. Yet no one thought we could use these motors (improved version) to build an electric vehicle. The government should strive to promote electric vehicles in the development plans of the country with the help of liberal and attractive incentives to attract investment, which will put Pakistan on the renewable energy map of the world.

Some of the other initiatives that have already been taken or could be taken are as under:

  1. Lucky Cement Ltd is going to undertake a feasibility study for a renewable energy project at its cement plant in Karachi, including wind and solar power. The Lucky Cement was one of the earliest cement companies to install waste heat recovery (WHR) units at both of its plant sites.  Currently, the share of WHR in the company’s total power generation is 25 per cent, which is environmentally friendly and results in low-cost energy.  Keeping up with its commitment to promoting renewable energy, the company is already installing a 34MW captive solar power project with a 5.589MWh reflex energy storage at its plant site in Pezu, Lakki Marwat. Subject to the Board’s approval of the feasibility of the renewable energy project in Karachi, the company’s initiatives for investment in renewable energy projects will play a key role in cost-saving and reducing the country’s reliance on imported fuel.
  2. In 2016, Pakistan (Arif Habib Corp) built a 50MW wind power plant (Sachal Wind Farm) at the cost of $134 million.
  3. Biogas plants next to the fruit market are ideal scenarios. An Indian Hyderabad based biogas plant uses the market waste and produces around 40 kg of LPG enough to produce 400-500 units of electricity.
  4. All airports in Pakistan will install solar system (phase wise) to support their energy demands. Sindh government to install solar panels in large parks (Hill Park and Safari Park) in Karachi.
  5. Overseas Pakistanis can help their families install small scale solar systems on their houses back here in Pakistan. It will help curb our fuel imports. In this connection, energy companies can hold road shows abroad on the lines similar to real estate developers.
  6. 90% homes in Cyprus have solar water heaters. This helps them save a lot on imported gas for heating in the winter. We could do the same in colder parts of Pakistan to save gas supplies.
  7. Following the example of Kenya, ambitious plan to push electric rickshaws in various cities could be launched (electric bikes are already in market). To push electric rickshaws into the market; one, we need to introduce easy finance option and two, look into building battery swapping stations.
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