By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
To cope with the challenge of ever sky rocketing cost of energy coupled with unstable supply, the experts have agreed that district-based generation of electricity from renewable energy sources offers more benefits to Pakistan compared to the centralized generation system of large-scale power plants scattered across the country.
The World Bank Renewable Energy Consultant, Ermeena Malik, was of the opinion that under-served areas of the country should be the prime focus while setting up new renewable energy plants.
"Pakistan has immense potential of setting up district-wise wind and solar power stations and they can generate low-cost indigenous energy," she remarked.
She pointed out that such a network would drastically reduce transmission and distribution investment and in some cases it would completely bypass it.
The Planning Commission's former member energy, Akhtar Ali, revealed that the average power demand per district in Pakistan stood around 300-400 megawatts and one renewable energy plant per district could provide 30,000-40,000MW on average.
He emphasized that the country should only go for renewable energy after 2025 in a bid to become self-sufficient.
The ex-member energy also highlighted that earlier the storage capacity for renewable energy was costly, which now became affordable, hence, Pakistan was in a better position to produce electricity from eco-friendly methods.
The Pakistan Electric Power Company’s former managing director, Tahir Basharat Cheema, recalled that around 1999-2000, Pakistan had surplus power generation and the country had even offered to sell electricity to India.
"At that time, the country did not have to worry about energy but by 2006, Pakistan began facing load-shedding. Now in 2020, we are talking about surplus energy when load-shedding is still rampant, hence, we do not have surplus capacity," he observed.
He lamented that power companies resorted to revenue-based load-shedding as the areas providing low revenue faced higher load-shedding, adding that the majority of areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan were suffering due to this strategy.
The oher topics discussed at the webinar were transformation of Pakistan's energy infrastructure and elite capture.