A Gigawatt of Wind Energy in Pakistan
|Wind Farm at Jhimpir, Sindh, Pakistan|
Pakistan has about 1000 MW of wind power plants at various stages of planning and construction, and another 498.5 megawatts of wind programs announced, mostly in Jhimpir, Gharo, Keti Bandar and Port Qasim wind corridors along the Arabian Sea coast in Sindh. The output from these plants will provide much-needed additional power for Pakistan, improve the country’s energy security, and lower reliance on natural gas and furnace oil. It is estimated that the Gharo to Keti Bandar corridor alone could produce between 40,000 and 50,000 megawatts of electricity, says Ms. Miriam Katz of Environmental Peace Review who has studied and written about alternative energy potential in South Asia.
Other major wind energy projects in Pakistan include American AES Corporation's 150 MW farm, Turkey's Zorlu Enerji Electrik Uretim's 56 MW farm, and Pakistan's FFC Energy's 50 MW farm.
Pakistan is fortunate to have something many other countries do not, which are high wind speeds near major population centers, according to data published by Ms. Katz .
Near Islamabad, the wind speed is anywhere from 6.2 to 7.4 meters per second (between 13.8 and 16.5 miles per hour). Near Karachi, the range is between 6.2 and 6.9 (between 13.8 and 15.4 miles per hour).
In Balochistan and Sindh provinces, sufficient wind exists to power every coastal village in the country. There also exists a corridor between Gharo and Keti Bandar that alone could produce between 40,000 and 50,000 megawatts of electricity, says Ms. Katz who has studied and written about alternative energy potential in South Asia. Given this surplus potential, Pakistan has much to offer Asia with regards to wind energy. In recent years, the government has completed several projects to demonstrate that wind energy is viable in the country. In Mirpur Sakro, 85 micro turbines have been installed to power 356 homes. In Kund Malir, 40 turbines have been installed, which power 111 homes. The Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) has also acquired 18,000 acres for building wind farms.
In addition to high wind speeds near major centers as well as the Gharo and Keti Bandar corridor, Pakistan is also very fortunate to have many rivers and lakes. Wind turbines that are situated in or near water enjoy an uninterrupted flow of wind, which virtually guarantees that power will be available all the time. Within towns and cities, wind speeds can often change quickly due to the presence of buildings and other structures, which can damage wind turbines. In addition, many people do not wish for turbines to be sited near cities because of noise, though these problems are often exaggerated.
Pakistan has a goal to generate at least 5 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030, according to Pakistan Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB). Last year, 53 percent came from natural gas, 30 percent from oil and the rest from coal, nuclear and hydropower, according to data from BP Plc. The London-based oil company didn’t measure any sources of renewable energy there.
The country’s electricity shortfall reaches as much as 3,628 megawatts per day, according to demand-supply data available on the ministry of power and water website.
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