PAKISTAN SPENDS billions of dollars every to import oil for catering the growing energy needs of the country while ignoring the huge potential of renewable energy, when even the oil-soaked nations are focusing to meet their needs from the cheap and green renewable energy.
Saudi Arabia, one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world, has recently admitted the oil does not represent the energy source of the future. During the recent Global Economic Symposium in Rio de Janeiro, Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia said, “I would like to see Saudi Arabia using 100 per cent renewable energy within my lifetime.”
Makkah which hosts millions of pilgrims a year is working towards becoming the first city in Saudi Arabia to operate an entire power plant from renewable energy sources. However, Pakistan, which is rich in the renewable energy sources of solar and wind energy has yet to adopt a vision for boosting this sector to curtail its every increasing oil import bill.
Pakistans oil import bill soared by 43.52 per cent to reach $12.583 billion during the July-April 2012 against $8.768 billion in the same period of 2010-211.
According to the latest figures released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the break-up of $12.583 billion oil import revealed country imported petroleum products worth of $8.355 billion in July-April 2011-2012, up by 69.81 percent if compared with $ 4.920 billion of July-April 2010-2011.
The import of petroleum crude increased by 9.89 per cent to $ 4.228 billion during the period under review against $3.848 billion of the corresponding period last year.
Renewable energy is reliable and plentiful and will potentially be very cheap once technology and infrastructure improve. It includes solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and tidal energy, plus biofuels that are grown and harvested without fossil fuels. Nonrenewable energy, such as coal and petroleum, require costly explorations and potentially dangerous mining and drilling and they will become more expensive as supplies dwindle and demand increases. Renewable energy produces only minute levels of carbon emissions and therefore helps combat climate change caused by fossil fuel usage.
Renewable energy is far cleaner than fossil fuels. Coal mining and petroleum exploration and refinement produce solid toxic wastes, such as mercury and other heavy metals. The burning of coal to produce electricity uses large quantities of water, often discharges arsenic and lead into surface waters and releases carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury into the air. Gasoline and other petroleum products cause similar pollution.
Renewable energy in Pakistan is a relatively underdeveloped sector; however, in recent years, there has been some interest by environmentalist groups and from the authorities to explore renewable energy resources for energy production, in light of the energy crises and power shortages affecting the country. Most of the renewable energy in Pakistan comes from hydroelectricity.
There have been some efforts to install and expand the use of solar energy in Pakistan. The average amount of daily sunlight in Pakistan is nine and a half hour there are a few cloudy days even in the wettest regions.
Pakistan is developing wind power plants in Jhimpir, Gharo, Keti Bandar and Bin Qasim in Sindh province. Another area with potential is Swat, which shows good wind conditions.
Focusing more on the sector of renewable energy can help alleviate many issues of Pakistani society, particularly the spending of huge budgetary allocations on the import of oil.
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