pakistan
An aerial view of the Quaid e Azam Solar Power Park in Bahawalpur in Pakistan. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has in principle approved the solar energy construction projects to cut the country’s huge import bill and reduce reliance on non-renewable energy resources by generating low-cost and environment-friendly electricity. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Pakistan government has approved 2000 megawatts of solar power projects in the public sector as the country is slowly transitioning toward renewable energy technologies.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has in principle approved the solar energy construction projects to cut the country’s huge import bill and reduce reliance on non-renewable energy resources by generating low-cost and environment-friendly electricity. PM Shehbaz said the projects would significantly reduce the country’s dependence on power projects running on costly fuels that are also burdening the foreign exchange reserves.

National solar energy initiative

The 2000 megawatts (MW) projects are part of the National Solar Energy Initiative which aims to produce 10,000 MW of renewable electricity in the next months.

In the first phase, solar energy would be supplied to the government buildings, tube wells operating on electricity and diesel and domestic consumers with low consumption. The prime minister said that the agricultural tube wells would be converted to solar power on an urgent basis under the project. The solar power projects would also help overcome the issues related to line losses, power theft, and circular debt. The solar energy initiative would help government buildings and tube wells shift from diesel to solar power. PM Sharif directed the authorities to ensure the early installation of solar plants before the next summer season.

The meeting attended by cabinet ministers and advisers also discussed the outcome of the investors’ conference on solar energy held in mid-September which was attended by local and international investor companies from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China, and Qatar.

Energy mix

Pakistan’s current energy mix is formed of about 58 per cent fossil fuels, 30 per cent hydropower and 10 per cent renewables and nuclear power. However, the country has tremendous potential for producing renewable energy, which is being explored extensively. Pakistan has vowed to produce 60 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.