Pakistan’s largest province, by area, Baluchistan is rich in mineral resources, and while it is highly strategically located near Iran and the rest of Pakistan, it remains quite underdeveloped. Over the past few years, foreign companies have forged partnerships with the provincial government for extraction of valuable minerals from the area. Now a Korean company plans to set up a solar power plant which can bring prosperity and growth to the region.
CK Solar Korea has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Baluchistan government to set up a 300 MW solar power project near the province’s largest city, Quetta. The project is expected to require $900 million investment. The project will bring relief to the province which, like the rest of the country, is suffering from acute power shortage.
The project will also help the province increase self-reliance in the energy sector. While the province is the gateway to Pakistan’s much needed energy supplies from neighbouring Iran, it lags behind most parts of the country in economic development. Despite being very rich in natural resources and being the largest province in the country, Baluchistan’s contribution to Pakistan’s GDP has been less then 5% between 1973 and 2000.
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Due to the predominantly tribal lifestyle of the population of the province, urbanisation has had limited penetration. The importance of infrastructure development in the region cannot be overstated. The need for sustainable energy infrastructure also stems from the fact that several foreign companies are now looking to set up exploration and extraction businesses in the province. With the development of such industries it is essential that substantial growth in the clean energy infrastructure takes place so that the pristine ecosystem of the province is preserved as much as possible.
Pakistan has taken up several large renewable energy projects in recent years as it aims for a sustainable future to counter its resource-strained present. In addition to it’s large-scale projects, the provincial governments have launched innovative measures to popularise the use of clean energy. The Punjab government distributed solar PV modules to students who faired well in their high school examinations. Such measures may eventually help the country raise an army of highly skilled clean energy professionals who could help the country out of its energy crunch.