An aerial view of the Quaid eAzam Solar Power Park in Bahawalpur. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: The Pakistan government will launch as many as 16 wind and solar power projects with a cumulative capacity of 860MW. The new renewable energy projects are expected to become operational by this year, according to state media.

Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), the federal agency tasked with facilitating and promoting renewable energy in Pakistan, is managing the new power projects.

The new alternative energy projects are placed under three categories. The first category includes 19 projects of 531MW that have received the approval letter while category two comprises 24 projects with a total electricity generation capacity of 1339MW that have acquired tariff and generation license. Both the license are subject to revision of tariff over the years. The third category includes 110 projects of 6707MW cumulative capacity.

Pakistan is encouraging private sector investment in renewable energy projects to reach its clean energy goal. Last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed that by 2030 Pakistan would produce 60 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Nearly 24 wind power projects, mostly in Thatta district of Sindh province, are currently generating 1235MW of electricity, accelerating the country’s clean energy transition.

Clean energy

AEDB has also instated six solar projects of 430 MW cumulative capacity at Quaid e Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur, and also in Sahiwal and Pind Dadan Khan, that are adding to the share of clean energy in the country.

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.

On March 18, Pakistan connected its first 1100MW nuclear power plant unit to the national power grid, marking a major milestone to provide clean and affordable electricity to millions in a country that witnesses frequent power outages due to the energy shortfall.