Pakistan’s energy sector remains one of the main obstacles to economic growth. Although Pakistan has managed to increase power generation since 2013 and mitigate power blackouts that plagued the country over the past decade, expensive fuel sources, a reliance on imported energy products, chronic natural gas shortages, major debt in the power sector, and aging and insufficient transmission and distribution systems have prevented the sector from growing and modernizing. Weak governance, uncoordinated energy policymaking and a lack of long-term energy planning only add to Pakistan’s current energy woes. U.S. and international assistance have helped Pakistan make some major strides in addressing these problems but without major reforms, Pakistan’s energy future remains challenging. According to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (NEPRA) 2021 yearly report, Pakistan’s total installed power generation capacity is 39772 MW, of which 63% of energy comes from thermal (fossil fuels), 25% from hydro, and 5.4% from renewable (wind, solar and biomass) and 6.5% from nuclear. In the current scenario, renewable energy (RE) resources can play an important role in closing the deficit. With current government’s tilt towards renewable energy, Ministry of Energy revised the current Renewable Energy (RE) Policy 2019 recently. According to the revised RE policy, Government of Pakistan aims to derive 60 percent of energy from renewable sources including hydro by 2030 that would wean Pakistan’s dependence on imported fuel products.
Pakistan has considerable potential for using wind energy in the coastal belt of Sindh and Baluchistan (in southern Pakistan). The Government of Pakistan (GOP) has developed a wind power energy corridor along the southern coastal regions of Sindh and Baluchistan. Wind data, provided by Pakistan’s Meteorological Department, measures Pakistan’s coastal belt at 60km (Gharo-Keti Bandar) and 180km long, with an exploitable potential of 50,000MW of electricity generation through wind turbines. Currently there are 26 private wind projects operating, producing approximately 1335MW. In addition to this, 10 wind projects with cumulative capacity of 510 MW have achieved financial close and are under construction. As Government of Pakistan has developed RE Policy which envisages generating 60 percent of energy from renewable resources by 2030, the ambitious target provides several opportunities for wind energy market in Pakistan.
In addition to large hydro, there are prospects of development of small-mini-micro hydro power with a revised RE Policy. GOP considers small hydropower projects as clean and inexpensive source of energy. Small hydropower projects are mainly located in the remote areas of Pakistan particularly North of country. Recently, GOP has identified new generation requirements by capacity, fuel technology and utilizing indigenous resources for power generation by announcing Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP). This plan envisages developing hydropower projects by adding additional 13000 MW hydropower capacity till 2030, from an existing capacity of 9000 MW – 25 percent share in the total mix.
Pakistan has an average of nine and a half hours of sunlight daily. Solar power entered Pakistan’s mix in 2013 after the government introduced a set of support policies to foster renewable energy development. According to the Pakistan Economic Survey, over the last five years, six solar power projects totaling 430 MW initiated commercial operations and are now providing electricity to the grid. With the rising costs of electricity in Pakistan and an unreliable grid supply, more industries and commercial organizations are turning to captive solar solutions. There has been a strong surge in domestic installation of rooftop photovoltaic panels in larger cities. For projects under 1 MW, net metering regulations came into effect in September 2015. This sector is trending toward significant growth soon as the GOP is targeting at least 1 million customers and adding approximately 3000 MW of solar power through net metering
To expand renewable energy in Pakistan’s energy mix, the World Bank has provided $100 million of financing to Sind Solar Energy Project to support independent power producers develop 400 MW of new solar power projects and provide partial grants to private sector firms for the commercial provision of Solar Home Systems to 200,000 households.
The most promising opportunities within this sector are:
- Solar Panels / Photovoltaic Panels
- Dry Batteries
- Wind Farm Equipment (especially turbines)
- Biomass Boilers
- Transmission Equipment
- Distribution Equipment
- Biogas Equipment
- Technical Consultancy