Renewable energy in Pakistan
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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 hours; there are a few cloudy days even in the wettest regions. Eight power generation plants have been installed and eleven are in various stages of completion. Further feasibility studies are undergoing. In December 1981 the first solar photovoltaic system was commissioned, located in Mumniala (a village 60 km from Islamabad). Four solar systems has been commissioned in Khukhera (Lasbela district), Ghakar (Attock district), Malmari (Thatta district)(now that system is unserviceable) and Dittal Khan Leghari, Digri (Mirpurkhas district).
A practical example of the use of solar energy can be seen in some rural villages of Pakistan where houses have been provided with solar panels that run electric fans and energy saving bulbs. One notable and successfully implemented case was the village of Narian Khorian (about 50 kilometers from Islamabad) which employs the use of 100 solar panels installed by a local firm, free of cost; these panels have provide energy through lights and fan facilities to some 100 households.
Pakistan is developing wind power plants in Jhimpir, Gharo, Keti Bandar and Bin Qasim in Sindh. The government of Pakistan decided to develop wind power energy sources due to problems supplying energy to the southern coastal regions of Sindh and Balochistan, the project was undertaken with assistance from the government of China. Another area with potential is Swat which shows good wind conditions in windpower investment.
Some examples are:
- Jhimpir Wind Power Plant (operational)
- Gharo Wind Power Plant (operational)
- Bin Qasim Wind Power Project (under construction)
Tidal power has not yet been operational in Pakistan compared to other renewable energy technologies, but in near future it may play a key role. Some think that tidal power plants in coastal creeks of Pakistan can serve the energy crisis conundrum up to some level.
The coastline of Pakistan, which is about 1,045 km-long with dominant features, is the best resource for harnessing tidal energy. In Sindh, two sites, creek system of Indus delta of 170 km and two to five metres tidal heights at the Korangi Creek, are available to exploit the tidal energy. Sonmiani Beach and Kalamat are also good prospects of tidal energy in Balochistan. Government has issued licence to private companies to take measures to build tidal power stations in February 2013. Since then, the engineering work is under process, and initially a 10 MW plant is proposed at Sonmiani Bay. Construction was expected to start by the end of 2013.