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Power of solar energy to empower Pakistan

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan which became an independent state in 1947 is governed by a federal parliamentary constitution. It is globally the sixth most populous country with a population of approximately 200 million people and a comparatively high population growth rate of 1.5%. Pakistan is a semi-industrialized economy with a presentable textile, food processing and agriculture base and a per capita GDP of US dollar 1,561. According to the World Bank, Pakistan has important strategic endowments and development potentials having 10th largest global labor market with ranking on 67 amongst the global exporters blessed with favorable climatic conditions, has 6th world largest coal reserves, long established nuclear powers programs and witnesses four types of weather and despite the fact that Pakistan has abundant coal reserves, it is producing just 0.1% of its electricity from its coal resources therefore, Pakistan imports crude oil, which satisfies about one-third of its total oil demand.

The higher oil prices and the shortage of funds adversely affected the quantity demand of Pakistan for importing oil and as a result there is a huge gap between the supply and demand of energy, which has flared with the passage of time, and the country has limited sources for producing electricity from reliable sources, including solar, natural gas, wind energy, hydropower and nuclear power as a result urban regions in the country are facing abundant load-shedding while the rural regions face even greater load-shedding which adversely affect industries so, it is quite unfortunate that despite having numerous energy resources, the country is engulfed in a never-ending and ever threatening energy crisis since early 2000s, which is severely hindering the growth potential of country and the bankrupt electricity portfolio suggests that the trend of electricity shortage will continue for next quite a few years.

Policymakers should therefore be fully aware of future electricity use so that appropriate measures can be taken to bridge this gap by identifying the energy status and potential of renewable energy as a sustainable alternative as energy is basic need of modern life.

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Pakistan is an energy deficient country and energy crisis is making bad impacts and destroying the economy of Pakistan, facing threatening and devastating shortage of electricity due to which all sectors of economy are being adversely affected and the economic progress is hampered by decline in agricultural productivity as well as by halt in operations of industries. Lower GDP growth and high inflation in recent years has also been attributed to shortfall in energy supply. As a result of decline in energy supply, new industrial units cannot be opened; rather the existing industrial units are gradually being closed. It also impacts unemployment/employment because if industries are closed the workers will lose jobs. To generate jobs too, through setting up of new industries, energy is a prerequisite. So, employment and unemployment directly or indirectly related to the energy supply.

 

Energy crisis can also contribute to social and psychological issues. These issues are directly related to the change of behavior of the citizen. Only because of the shortfall of the electricity many people become victims of insomnia which badly affects their lives and performance at work results in increasing poverty. Currently, around forty percent of our population is living beyond poverty line and this ratio is increasing day by day. Ample control of energy crisis will surely yield in curbing the menace of poverty. Thus energy crisis has more or less plagued all sectors of Pakistan’s economy and therefore it is hampering national progress in a drastic manner. Nonetheless, menace of energy crisis can be overwhelmed by government through making effective policies and its proactive implementation.

Renewable Energy Technologies and their Applications

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The topographic location of Pakistan also makes it an ideal country for solar energy generation as Pakistan is situated 24 to 27 N latitude and 61 to 76 E longitudes on the face of this globe and witnessed more than 300 sunshine days per year on average so, solar energy is an effective alternative to overcome the power crisis in the country and also plays an important role to reduce the import bill. Solar energy can now be an affordable and practical contributor to our country’s energy needs by reducing capital expense, long term operating costs, and provides a reasonably predictable supply of electricity and is a complete hedge against market fuel price volatility which is really attractive for industrial and corporate users alike.

Strength and Weakness of solar Energy in Pakistan

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In order to accelerate the renewable energy expansion and to attend to the growing energy requirements, successful clean energy projects have to be initiated to attract foreign investors. Through the realization of several project approaches, we aim to support national economies worldwide to facilitate and spur economic growth, and contribute to meet the huge energy demand and believe that.

The writers are related to Faculty H&SS Department, Bahria University Karachi

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