OUR PRIME minister has said that it is difficult to overcome country’s energy crisis in immediate term but there is still hope. Instead of spending billions on energy sector, Pakistan needs to make clear and transparent policies on renewable so that public and private sectors can make necessary investments.
Pakistan can have wind energy on lines of China to generate 20,000 MW. China has planned to generate or 30GW with wind energy by year 2020. Gansu province alone is going to add 7Gw to its existing 10GW installed capacity by 2015. Wind energy project costs have dropped to below US $625 a kilowatt, making wind power generation a profitable business in Gansu. China is going to harness 750GW of offshore wind energy.
In G-20 countries, 48 per cent investment in clean energy has gone in wind energy and it has added 40 GW of generating capacity, which is enough to power 30 million homes. Pakistan can use its costal lines and farmlands to harness wind to power its agri-sector, industry, cities including Karachi and Gwadar.
Solar sector is the fastest-growing clean-energy industry in the world. Prices of solar panels have declined by more than 60 per cent in the last 30 months. By the end of this year, solar modules are expected to cost half as much as they did four years ago.
In 2010 alone, 17 GW of solar-generation capacity was added in the world which could power more than 12.5 million homes. China produced 48 per cent which is about 13GW, of the world’s solar panels in 2010, in coming two years time it will be the world’s largest market.
The solar feed-in tariff, the price of solar-generated electricity, could drop below 12.5 cents for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) by 2015, equal to conventional coal-fired electricity by that time. Technology including dual meter is being adopted in Europe and US that allow individual homes to send surplus energy generated from renewable energy to main grid online and are paid for it.
Pakistan can cut the cost of solar panels by using silicon in local deserts. The advancement in solar technology in form of tiny glitter sized photovoltaic and transparent, spray-on and thin film solar panels turning windows, cars and most surfaces into solar energy producers. These developments offer unlimited future use of solar energy.
India is encouraging individuals to develop 12-acre solar farms to sell energy to state. Almost entire textile sector of India has shifted to renewable energy. Pakistan needs to legislate to shift industry to renewable energy to free gas, end energy theft, and meet international emission standards and competitiveness.
Pakistan, tracking the UK, Germany, Bangladesh can encourage banking sector to finance individual homes to shift to renewable. It will save trillions being lost to corruption, line loses, administrative cost and maintenance. Specially, Punjab government needs to spearhead the drive to adopt renewable energy as the most populous province and support agri-sector.
Renewable energy can be used to reduce Pakistan’s ever increasing $10bn annual fuel imports. By adopting mass transport, Pakistan can cut diesel fuel imports, which reportedly constitutes 80 per cent of total national fuel import. Following the China and UK, Pakistan must return to railway to cut diesel imports by 80 per cent, freight and travelling charges by six times and save trillions being spent on road infrastructures especially mega cities. It can help our country earn billions of rupees annually from railways, as India earns Rs 50bn and UK £6.5bn from rail fares.
E-vehicles and bicycles are becoming important part of national communication policies in Europe, US and China. Ecotricity UK is going to install green-energy-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging points at selected motorway service stations to speed up the adoption of EVs in Britain. China has installed 460 solar powered charging stations for EVs (cars, motorcycles and bicycles). Beijing is headed bring one million electric powered cars by the end of 2011. Philippine has introduced 20,000 electric rickshaws.
Renewable energy can help Pakistan fight poverty, generate millions of jobs, end privatization of national silver and bring more than $100bn annually in foreign direct investments (FDIs). In 2010, $230bn was invested in renewable energy in worldwide; due to friendly policies, private sector alone has invested $191bn in renewable energy.
Renewable energy can save our future generations from being unemployed. Our leaders need to use renewable energy to educate and employ youth, attract billions of dollars in FDIs and revive and sustain economy.
Nations are using renewable energy, transport policies and eco-cities to overcome poverty, create millions of jobs, expand industries, attract direct foreign investment and strengthen economies. In conclusion, Pakistan can solve its energy crisis and join modern world provided our leaders are willing to adopt effective laws, transparent policies, get rid of corrupt practices, and adopt renewable energy.