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Green Powered Pakistan

Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz

The writer is research fellow at University of Cambrdige, UK and Professor at Biejing Institue of Technlogy China.

Green energy often known as renewable energy is the form of energy derived from natural resources i.e. sunshine, tide, waves, wind and does not destroy the national environment. These resources are practically inexhaustible, but the most interesting thing is such resources do not cause carbon footprints or climate change compared to non-renewable energy.

The consumption of non-renewable energy not only affects biodiversity, ecosystem and environment but also influence human health. Although non-renewable energy is not harmful but still the trend of burning fossil fuel, natural gas and coal is increasing. This brings climate change, sharp changes in temperatures, melting glaciers and unseasonable rainfall which affects food security and health problems.

The recoupment of non-renewable energy is time taking which needs centuries but green energy can be recouped in the short run. According to Global Renewable Energy Community, since 2011 the consumption of green energy has been increasing compared to non-green energy. The green energy consumption in 2019 hit the milestone of more than 200 gigawatts. Unfortunately, non-renewable energy consumption in Pakistan is still dominant in comparison to renewable energy consumption.

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country but still does not have an uninterrupted energy supply to keep its growth on track and maintain the living standard of residents. Although Pakistan is rich in both green and non-green energy resources, yet it is unable to fulfill the rising energy demand.

The difference between supply and demand of electricity is bridged with blackouts and daily some parts of the country plunged into darkness for more than 12-14 hours. This current issue of electricity load-shedding has not occurred overnight. The root cause of this acute problem goes back to the last few decades’ mismanagement and poor planning. Because of the dark nights, shortage of electricity reduces the efficiency of commercial work.

Therefore, not only are Pakistanis households moving towards consuming green energy such as solar energy, wind turbine, and tidal mills but commercial and large-scale stakeholders are using green energy especially solar energy. The average sunshine in Pakistan is around 8 hours 20 minutes and very few days are cloudy. Several large energy-producing plants are already successfully installed in Pakistan and others are on the stage of completion.

For meeting energy demand, Punjab announced to install a large solar plant within 5,000 acres of land named Quaid-e-Azam solar park. In some villages, the local organization has installed energy-producing solar plants buy using 100 solar panels and providing electricity as alternative energy for fans and energy saving bulbs.

In the northwest parts of Sindh, the government has installed wind powered plants. Considering the supply-demand gap of electricity in coastal areas of Sindh and Baluchistan, Pakistan decided to build a wind power plant at Gharo, Jhimpir, Keti Bandar, and Bin Qasim and the construction were done under Chinese supervision.

Tidal power technology is not operational in Pakistan, but it is expected that maybe, tidal power will play a great contribution to increasing green energy supply for domestic and commercial consumption.

In Pakistan, the coastline is more than 1500 kilometers long out of which 170 kilometers is located at the Indus delta creek system Sindh has the best locations for harnessing tidal power technology. The wind efficiency was identified in Sindh and Baluchistan.

By an average of theoretical wind efficiency of Gharo, Keti Bandar and Bin Qasim were recorded more than 50 gigawatts. Pakistan has priorities for producing more green energy plants with national and international investors. According to the World Bank,  Pakistan holds 25 million tons of biomass by feedstock and the agriculture industry makes available for consumption.

Furthermore, Pakistan produces more than 20,000 tons of municipal waste material every day. Still, Pakistan does not have a clear planning policy for target green energy production and usage, although, political policymakers have expressed their ideas several times but are unable to see implementation and working on it.

The political views need to be simplified for stakeholders with a clear understanding and need to set a clear plan first.  Green energy portfolio standards tend to be more effective for ensuring feasibility, efficiency and mandate according to law and regulations. Such goals for Pakistan imply the adoption of a properly accepted act by the parliament.

This will necessitate either unified or allocated goal standards on green energy production based on utility. The process in which private, public national and international investors consider investing in green energy, recycling and increasing the efficiency of power generation with a sustainable environment. This requires designing policies and their implementation in collaborative participatory manners. 

Mansoor Ahmed Koondhar, from Northwest A&F University in Yangling (China), also contributed to this article.

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