DesPardes + PKonweb

THE SHIFT: Pakistan Targets Fourfold Increase in Renewables Over 10 Years

Last year, 41% of generation was on imported fuels. “That is just way too high,” said Nadeem Babar, head of Pakistan’s energy task force.

DESPARDES — Pakistan is planning a wave of new wind and solar plants that will expand its clean energy capacity to about fifth of its total, according to news agency Bloomberg.

The country targets to increase its renewables by more than four times by adding as much as 7 GW to bring its total to 8 to 9 GW by 2025, says the article, citing the head of Pakistan’s energy task force.

The new energy policy targets lifting the country’s total generation capacity by 40 percent to 42 to 43 GW.

To alleviate congestion, the country is working with the World Bank to identify the best locations to site new renewable generation. Pakistan plans to auction the right to build renewable capacity annually starting in December.

It will also deregulate clean energy for companies that want to build a wind farm or use solar panels to supply private businesses.

Renewable generation is also expected to reduce the country’s costs to import power generation fuels such as coal and natural gas. 

The shift to clean generation comes after Pakistan has nearly bridged a power deficit by adding 10 gigawatts of capacity in the past six years to ease long, unannounced blackouts in major cities. Most of that capacity was coal and natural gas fired plants that were financed by China as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimate there is more than 132 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy capacity alone across the country.

According to Bloomberg, Pakistan’s petroleum product imports, which fuel both power plants and vehicles, accounted for about $13 billion of the country’s $50 billion total imports in the eleven months ended May.

Last year, 41 percent of generation was on imported fuels. As well, a $3.5 billion joint venture with China to dig up coal from Pakistan’s Thar desert generated electricity for the first time this month.

Last year, 41% of generation was on imported fuels. “That is just way too high,” said Nadeem Babar, head of Pakistan’s energy task force.

“The general policy is to have much higher emphasis on renewables over the next 10 years,’’ said Babar in a phone interview to the news agency this month.