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Likely success in hydro, solar and wind

Likely success in hydro, solar and wind

Conversation with Muhammad Farooq Afzal – CEO, ITN Group of Companies


Muhammad Farooq Afzal is a dynamic and a profound professional in the realm of Textiles, Information Technology, Business Consultancy, Tourism, and Event Management. He has been pursuing his entrepreneurial ambitions for last 22 years, locally & internationally. He has been playing an instrumental role in promoting trade and business ties between Pakistan and other countries since 2004.

Farooq has been continuously putting in his multifaceted efforts towards the cause of promotion of bilateral and multilateral trade. He has also been participating in TV talk shows regularly to speak about the economy, promotion of bilateral and multilateral trade based on the business opportunities lying in respective countries.

He holds a Master’s degree in Business Management from Philippines and Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from University of Sindh, Pakistan. He is also a Doctor of Homeopathic Medicine.

He is Founder President of Pakistan Turkey Business Forum and President/CEO of ITN Group of Companies which is involved in textiles, information technology, machinery, event management and general trading.

PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST had an exclusive conversation with Muhammad Farooq Afzal about Renewable Energy. Excerpts of the conversation are as follows:

We need to understand that it is only renewable energy which is considered as clean, collected from resources which are naturally replenished on a human time scale such as sun light wind, running water, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Pakistan’s energy mix is formed of 64% fossil fuels, 27% hydropower and 9% other renewable and nuclear power. While Pakistan has strong potential for producing renewable energy it is still far behind much of the world in developing these sources. Currently there are 81 different Power plants with installed capacity of approx. 40,000 MW plus of electricity and some more power generating projects are in consideration in future to increase electricity production in the country.

By the end of 2030, our requirement would be around 110,000MW. Despite such installed capacities, we have not been able to utilize the same and are short of 7,000MW due to line losses and mismanagement, resulting heavy load-shedding all over the country which is hampering industrial and services growth. This is unfortunate that in order to protect the vested interests of oil mafia, no government has done much for the development and growth of renewable energy sources in Pakistan.

Pakistan is part of world’s green policy by using environmental sustainable sources at all level and in this regard clean energy is must for us. Burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) produces carbon dioxide which adds more to the atmosphere, increases greenhouse effect resulting increase in the earth temperature. Producing electricity with fossil fuels is more expensive than the renewable energy sources. Due to the fossil fuels energy sources, the cost of production goes higher which makes our exportable articles uncompetitive in the international markets and at the same time for the domestic markets. This is high time for Pakistan to work on war footing basis to divert/convert to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass etc. as this will not only save the money but environment as well! We do not have future without renewable energy.

Pakistan must focus on (1) Hydro (2) Solar and (3) Wind

Hydro: Allah SWT has given us ample water of rivers and we have never taken the advantage of the same due to political reasons. India has already made many dams on our rivers but our previous governments neither objected/protested nor took any decision to make our dams just to please the Indian government. We have estimated hydro potential approx. 50,000 MW out of which we have harnessed only 6,500 MW.

Solar: Pakistan is situated in an area of one of the highest solar insulation in the world where average solar radiation is 5.5KW per square meter and there 300 clear days. We have a potential of about 30,000 MW but producing only about 500 MW.

Wind: We have potential of about 50,000MW. If we use this option in an efficient manner then Pakistan can benefit of it and even can export the same.

Pakistan’s urban areas generate about 50,000 tons of solid waste every day. We have about 70 million animals those can generate 23 million cubic meter biogas and about 40 million tons of bio fertilizers per day. We can produce about 100 MW per day.

I saw wind farms in Germany and other EU counties in 2007 and thought why Pakistan can’t take advantage despite having such potential but it was all about the government’s energy policies and priorities. Pakistan’s coastal belt line is Karachi, Ormara, Pasni, and Gwadar having wind corridor of about 60KM wide and 180KM long and those areas reflect the wind effectiveness in wind speed, wind density, and wind directions and has a potential of about 50,000MW. Among all Karachi is the best-suited location for a 50 MW wind farm with the highest wind speed and the lowest variation in wind direction annually. Wind energy projects are highest in ROI, benefit-to-cost ratio with a minimum payback period  of 5–8 years depending on the commercially available turbine designs.

A Turkish company Zorlu Enerji installed 50MW first ever wind power plant in 2009 at Jhimpir, Pakistan. Such wind farms must be encouraged and supported by the Government of Pakistan to take the advantages such as cost effectiveness, clean fuel source, sustainable and job creating.

I think Pakistan is not yet ready to explore the low cost renewable energy option of geothermal energy which is taken from the Earth’s core. Let me quote here a bookish definition that it comes from the heat generated during the original formation of the planet and the subsequent radioactive decay of materials. This thermal energy is stored in rocks and fluids in the center of the earth. Technologies in use are steam power station, flash steam power stations and binary cycle power stations. Geothermal electricity generation is currently being used in 26 countries. There are more than 6,000 surface indications of geothermal energy sources with and estimated potential of 800,000 KW. I think that we should not go for this kind of renewable energy sources and must focus on hydro, solar and wind.

The share of renewable energy sources is expected to reach 30% by 2024. It may grow even more than 30% and in next 10 years this could be 50%. It’s all because of (1) heavy cost of generating electricity with fossil fuels and (2) scarce resources of the fossil fuels in time to come.

Pakistan must take aggressive steps to divert itself to renewable energy as soon as possible.

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