Opinions, Pakistan Agriculture News

Winds of change in Pakistan

With the increase in economic activity, the need for energy has increased and a balance between energy sustainability and economic growth is the need of the day.

The exploitation of appropriate energy sources, keeping in view future energy need, is the key towards energy sustainability.

With the increase in utilisation of conventional energy sources such as coal, gas and hydro for power generation, clean energy resources which do not pollute the environment should be utilised.

Power generation from wind is one such resource which is not only environmentally friendly but which also replenishes with time and thus is virtually inexhaustible.

Amongst others, Climate Change is one of the biggest global challenges. The uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels for power generation is one of the main reasons behind the phenomenon. Contrary to this, wind power generation does not pose any danger to the environment.

Not only is wind energy environmentally friendly, it is also not affected by any external factors and geo-political scenarios as it is an indigenous resource. With no use of imported fuel, the variation in global prices of fuel does not impact wind power generation thus providing stability in electricity prices as well as energy security for the country.

The price of wind power generation has also seen a steady decline in the last few years due to a decrease in costs and advancements in wind power technology. Wind energy has achieved grid parity in many parts of the world and is now considered an economical and viable source of power generation.

This decrease in tariffs for wind energy is evident from the Upfront Tariffs determined by Nepra from time to time. It is envisaged that this trend of decline in wind energy prices will continue making it more economical.

The exploitation of alternative and renewable sources of energy has been a prime focus of the current government. While new corridors with wind energy potential are being identified through surveys and wind mapping, the development of wind power projects is simultaneously being undertaken.

In order to assess the potential of wind power generation in Pakistan, the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) has carried out satellite based wind mapping of Pakistan with the assistance of National Renewable Energy Laboratories of US.

In the recent past AEDB, with the assistance of the World Bank, has installed wind masts in different parts of the country in order to gather ground based bankable wind data.

The southern parts of Sindh such as Jhampir and Gharo in Thatta District are worth mentioning when talking about wind potential in the country. This wind corridor is spread over an area of 6,700 square kilometres and has abundant wind energy resource.

The federal and provincial government have together completed 13 wind power projects of 630MW that are supplying electricity to the national grid. Out of these 13 projects, eight have been completed in the current year. More than 350 wind turbines have been installed in these projects.

Estimates indicate that Sindh alone has a wind power generation potential of more than 35,000MW which can play a vital role in overcoming the existing energy crisis and help achieve sustainable economic growth.

Khalid Hasan Khan, The writer is a filmmaker with documentaries addressing Pakistan’s social issues khalidhasankhan@yahoo.com