Ignoring Renewable Energy

The power management policy of the government has some serious problems. In the annual off-peak period – around this time when the demand for energy is much lower than the summer months – the government has stopped purchasing power from the Jhimpir Wind Corridor. Instead of utilising the 980 MWs that can be generated from renewable energy using this wind corridor, the government is instead choosing to buy its power from coal and regasified liquid natural gas plants.

The whole point of encouraging investment in the renewable energy sector was to ensure that Pakistan moves towards more sustainable energy consumption and production. The Prime Minister has often stated that he hopes to shift 30 percent of Pakistan’s energy production to renewable sources by 2030. The state has also implemented several policies that will continue to encourage more investment into the renewable power sector.

But all of the efforts on that front are completely futile if potential investors see the situation in Jhimpir, with turbines lying unused and investors losing money due to the lack of a buyer from their product. We have energy equivalent to over 5 percent of the total energy demand in the winter going completely to waste because the government would rather purchase its power from sources that we are supposed to be moving away from.

It was not too long ago when the country was facing a critical energy shortage on a daily basis. Do not let the winter months fool you however, the government has not passed the finish line on the race to meet the energy demands of the country as a whole. Quite obviously, the energy consumption needs in Pakistan fall by a significant amount around this time of the year, from an estimated 25000 MW needed to as low as 18000MW in the winter. But the government needs to prioritise on renewable sources to acquire energy before relying on inefficient and pollutant-heavy coal and gas plants.

Apart from the evident pollution and emissions argument, these investors were made promises of having enough demand to be able to secure smooth running of both the turbines and profits from energy production; the government cannot fail them now. The future of the renewable energy sector is at stake. If the government does not encourage energy consumption from renewable sources, Pakistan will not be able to head into the sustainable direction Prime Minister Khan wanted in his Vision 2030.

Courtesy: The Nation

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