Dec 12 - 18, 20

Oil, gas, and coal are the main sources of energy meeting 75 per cent of global energy needs. These energy sources, whereas played a key role in socioeconomic uplift of the people, also played havoc with environmental resources.

According to the world health organization (WHO) estimates, about three million premature deaths occur in a year due to environmental pollution. The environmentalists consider renewable energy sources like water, wind, light etc. as clean, eco-friendly and sustainable all over the world. According to an estimate, only 0.1 per cent of renewable sources are being utilized world over.

Lack of sufficient energy resources is the main constraint in the economic development of Balochistan. The traditional methods are not sufficient to meet the demand. Thermal energy resources are expensive and environmentally unsafe.

Renewable energy resources need to be exploited for sustainable development of the province. Development of renewable energy technologies can revolutionize the living standards of low-income people in rural areas of the province. Electricity generation through wind turbines is considered most as an economical and cost-effective energy source, since there is no fuel cost. And, the operation and maintenance cost is nominal, compared to conventional power plants.

During the last five-year period, remote areas of Balochistan have witnessed the use of renewable energy technologies for power generation purpose. Efforts are still underway both at official and non-governmental level to exploit huge volume of renewable energy sources of the province through renewable energy technologies like wind power turbines, biogas plants, micro-hydropower plants, and solar thermal devices.

The province planned to undertake the renewable energy projects, which include installation of windmill and solar energy systems in coastal areas and a detailed feasibility study for the remaining area at a total cost of Rs20 million.

Non-government organizations (NGOs) have also installed wind solar energy resources in different areas of the province.

Khushali Associates have installed solar and wind power generation system at Zardaloo, Harnai. The system is working effectively and supplying power to beneficiaries. Similarly, Empower, a New Zealand based NGO, has also installed a solar and wind power generation system at Chib Kalamati.

Another wind and solar power station was established in September 2003, with the help of Netherlands government, at Dargai, Harnai in Balochistan. It generates electricity meeting the requirements of 25 houses in the area. Moreover, the UNDP has undertaken a comprehensive wind mapping study at Pasni, which will be useful in collection of data for planning and design of a project.

Balochistan is rich in renewable energy sources. Its renewable energy potential needs to be exploited fully in view of the growing energy demand.

Renewable energy technologies can play a vital role in providing the social services and improving living conditions of people in remote areas of the province. The coastal areas of Balochistan are most feasible for launching renewable industry projects.

Solar energy is the most reliable and abundantly available renewable source. It may be converted into electric energy through photovoltaic.

National Institute of Silicon Technology (NIST) has developed mathematical models that give the solar insulation values at any time on any surface inclination.

Balochistan has average daily global insulation of 19 to 20 million joules/m2 a day with annual mean sunshine duration of 8 to 8.5 hours. These values are among the highest in the world.

For daily global radiation up to 23 million joules/m 2,24 (80 per cent) consecutive days are available in this area. Such data is ideal for PV and other solar energy applications. Need is to take advantage of solar technologies to meet the challenge of electricity deficit.

Wind is another promising renewable source. Wind turbine must be located in the highest wind speed regime. Balochistan is blessed with high rate of wind velocities and long sunshine hours. The available wind speed data collected from the meteorological directorate suggest that coastal area of Balochistan has enough wind speed to help generate electricity or to directly operate prime movers for water pumping systems largely suitable for small power requirements and remote area applications.

The technical violability depends on the availability of mean wind speed, which must be at least equal to three meter per second for its minimum utility. Most of the wind resources are located either along the seacoast lines or on the mountains.

Windmill is the latest technology of producing low cost electricity. Windmills can be used to pump water for irrigation and grinding grain in agricultural fields. Windmills prove cheaper source of energy than coal and thermal based sources of electricity.

Wind power system is currently in operation in China and some other countries. Government is seeking Chinese help for producing low cost electricity through windmills in the coastal areas of Pakistan.

According to the plan, 100 wind power turbines are to be installed in the remote coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan provinces. Most of the parts of these 100 wind power turbines would be produced indigenously, except the generators, which are to be imported from China. It is worth mentioning that the country has already procured and installed 14 wind power turbines of 300 and 500 watt capacity, with the help of China, in coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

Windmills are installed at the places where there is a steady wind blowing at least at the speed of 20-25 kilometer per hour. Coastal areas and hilltops are considered highly suitable for wind turbine installation.

According to the experts, a wind turbine of 100-megawatt power could be set up by an investment of $50 million with no concurrence cost.

The wind turbines work on the principle of conservation of energy through which the wind energy is converted into electrical energy. The coastal areas of Balochistan like Gwadar and Pasni in Mekran district provide good conditions and climate for installation and working of the wind turbines. The wind power stations will control the power shortage problems in Balochistan and help provide educational and entertainment services through TV sets, which are dependent upon electricity supply in the rural areas.

Windmills can be set up on the top of the hills against the fast blowing wind in Balochistan. According to an estimate, a 300-watt wind turbine is sufficient to run about two or three lines of black and white television and probably a radio. The renewable resources of generating electric power are highly desirable to overcome the acute power crisis in the province.