With mounting calls to strengthen and consolidate the status of the private sector in the electricity sector in Pakistan; Engro Energy plans to develop the country’s first hybrid power plant.
The wind and solar hybrid power plant will start producing 500 megawatts in the first phase by the end of 2024, and the capacity will reach 1 gigawatt by 2025, The Express Tribune reported.
The move comes at a time when Pakistan is seeking to accelerate the transition to renewable energy; To address the energy crisis and reduce dependence on expensive imports, according to what was monitored by the Specialized Energy Platform.
private sector intervention
On Thursday, September 1, (2022), the private sector in Pakistan announced the construction of the first hybrid power plant with a capacity of 1 GW in Jhambir area in Sindh province, with the aim of reducing the cost of electricity and facing climate change.
The CEO of Engro Energy, Yousef Seddiqi, said that the company is in the process of establishing the first hybrid power plant managed by the private sector, during the annual conference on the state of renewable energy for 2022, organized by the Institute for Sustainable Development Policy.
Siddiqui explained that it will be the first hybrid power station in Pakistan without the government obtaining a fixed rate of return, adding that the station will produce electricity, and then sell it to the private sector, as is happening in the United States and Europe.
Seddiqi called for liberalizing the electricity sector, allowing private electricity companies to operate outside the government, taking responsibility for risks and selling directly to consumers.
He pointed out that this method is globally successful and cost-effective, and can boost investment and support electricity demand.
Reducing the cost of electricity
As world powers grapple over limited fuel supplies and turbulent economies after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pakistan can no longer rely on expensive imported fuels, such as fuel oil, diesel, coal and liquefied gas, either physically or in light of climate change.
Hybrid solar and wind power plants harness the full potential of clean and renewable energy, providing more reliable solutions to reduce the cost of electricity in Pakistan.
Currently, the government is the sole buyer of electricity across the country.
The CEO of the Pakistan Business Council, Ehsan Malik, noted that the costly use of energy creates circular debt; This affects the financial capacity of the government, and harms the environment, employment and trade sectors in Pakistan.
He explained that the government did not address some basic defects when it raised electricity tariffs, warning against leaving the industry hostage to these defects.
He drew attention to the government’s failure to launch advertising campaigns that contribute to energy conservation, explaining that saving energy by 5% could save $3 billion from the import bill.
Promote renewable energy
At the same time, the Pakistani government intends to announce plans to develop projects in renewable energy and solar parks, during the next month, October (2022).
The CEO of the Alternative Energy Development Board, Shah Jahan Mirza, said that the government aims to install solar plants with a capacity of 6 thousand megawatts in these parks, and the government plans to establish a solar energy project with a capacity of 2,400 megawatts initially.
The Alternative Energy Development Board has proposed eliminating taxes and fees on the import of solar energy equipment.
The total installed capacity of solar and wind energy is 600 MW and 1985 MW, respectively, in July (2022).
Accordingly, the share of renewable energy in the energy mix is currently 5%, according to what was monitored by the Specialized Energy Platform.
The government aims to increase the share of renewable energy; Including hydropower, to 60% by 2030.
The Secretary of the Government Department of Energy in Sindh, Abu Bakr Ahmed, said that the region is rich in wind and solar resources, and has huge potential to promote renewable energy.
He added that the Sindh government is giving foreign investors facilities to set up a power plant with a capacity of 200 megawatts, half of the electricity production – using garbage – will enter the system within one year.
Meanwhile, former Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar has criticized global emitters for not providing enough financial support to fight global warming and exacerbating climate impacts in vulnerable countries.
“The world needs between $7 billion and $14 billion annually to reduce the risks of climate change, which is beyond financial pressures,” she said.
While the Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development Policy, Abed Qayyum, said that heavy rains and flash floods are a manifestation of climate change.
He pointed out that the renewable energy mix can play a crucial role in reducing emissions and addressing catastrophic climate impacts.
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