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143,000 MW of Solar and Wind for Pakistan?

Aggressive investment in clean energy sources may be afoot in Pakistan. Several sources have recently stated that a US AID report found Pakistan has about 150,000 MW of wind power potential. One source said it is planning 25,000 MW in wind power installations by 2015.

Karachi downtown

The report also said one area — the Sindh corridor — has a wind power potential of 40,000 MW. Another source says wind power potential in this area is actually 50,000 MW.

Overall potential is one thing, but getting there is obviously quite another. In the short-term, however, there are plans to add an additional 800 MW of wind power in this region, and that new growth could be completed by 2013. Wind speeds in the Sindh corridor have been measured at 7.5 and 7.7 m/s, which puts the area in the “Excellent” category for wind power.

Additionally, there are 30 clean energy projects in the pipeline there with a total output of 1,947 megawatts. The government wants to attract foreign investment up to $2.7 billion in order to expedite some of these clean energy projects. The main motivation to do so is the very high cost of yearly oil imports and the burden oil places on the national economy. Currently, that figure is about $12 billion.

Pakistan has been experiencing an energy crisis. For example, the Punjab this summer has had its power cut up to twenty hours a day in some periods. The difference between supply and demand reached 7,500 MW at one point.

Peak demand in summer is about 18,000 MW. Approximately one third of that is for air conditioning. Energy demand is rising by 1,500 MW per year, and the country of 180 million people is growing constantly. Already, there are riots and protests over the lack of energy and how the government is managing the situation.

Articles such as this one about the massive potential of renewable energy sometimes are not well-received because readers point out the potential exists on paper but there are many obstacles which appear to make it nearly impossible to realize. In some cases, this frustration may be fully warranted, but having a very large potential is a good thing, and recognizing it can reference a direction for the future, when currently there isn’t a clear picture what should be done.

Image Credit: Asjad Jamshed

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