WIND - A RICH ENERGY SOURCE
DR. SM ALAM
July 19 - 25, 2010
World's total windmill power installed capacity stands nearly at 94,000 MW, according to an estimate. Nearly 70 countries have laws and regulations to support the development of renewable energies such as wind, which is gaining importance because of increasing cost of oil and gas and need to limit fuel emissions that cause global warming.
The wind has been proved as a powerful natural source for generating electricity in most countries of the world.
To generate any measurable power from wind, we need strong wind speed, of more than five meters per second. Another problem with the speed of the wind is that it should be steady and consistent throughout the day. The immense boost in wind energy is possible by modern designing of the equipments.
Germany has the world's largest wind energy generation capacity of 23,000 MW. China which has been generating more than 3,450 MW from wind has an impressive record of 156 percent rise in wind energy during recent years. Spain is producing 15,100 (40 percent) MW of its energy from wind. The United States of America generates 19,540 MW from on-land and offshore wind farms. The US has vast areas of seashores from Maine State in the East to Washington State in the West. The USA has started its wind energy mill in 1940 and Europe in 1923. Among European nations, Denmark is producing 8312 MW through coastal wind. A number of other countries including Italy, the UK, Holland, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Japan etc. produce over 3000 megawatt of electricity from wind.
India is generating 8000 MW from wind and its wind energy rate is being increased 1700 MW per annum. India has started production wind energy in 1982.
Wind mill is the most environment-friendly source of power. One megawatt wind power saves approximately 2,000 tons of CO2, 22 million cubic feet natural gas and 25 million litres of HSD. According a survey report from Euro barometer published in January 2006, almost 80 percent of European Union citizens prefer renewable energies as alternate to high-priced oil and gas, while nuclear is preferred by only 12 percent.
Pakistan has a total installed electricity generating capacity of about 19,522 MW from different sources i.e. hydel, thermal, coal and nuclear. The break-up is Wapada 11,327MW, KESC 1,756 MW, PAEC 452 MW, and IPPs 5,977 MW. Of the total capacity 5,000 MW (about 26 percent) is hydro while the rest 14,522 MW is thermal.
Between 1985 and 2005, Pakistan's total installed capacity increased nearly fourfold i.e. from 5229 MW to 19,522 MW. The shares in energy consumption are 23 percent residential, 34 percent industrial, 34 percent transportation, 3 percent commercial, 3 percent agriculture and 3 percent others.
Share of renewable energy in energy mix in Pakistan is negligible. The country is far behind in electricity generation through wind energy. The Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) was founded in May 2003 for supplying wind/solar energy in remote regions of the provinces.
Pakistan has a long coastal belt of 1046 kilometers from Sindh to Bolachistan which is highly suitable for wind energy generation. Pakistan has long coastal areas and the gusty wind blows from March to November in almost normal speed. Due to its ideal geographical location, the country possesses immense potential to harness unlimited wind energy. The average wind speeds of 5 to 7m/s are available in most of the coastal areas in Sindh and Balochistan as well as in a few northern valleys of KP and AJK. AEDB has installed small capacity wind turbines in the rural areas of Sindh and Bolachistan with the collaboration of few NGOs and private companies. The Board has provided wind power to about 1,400 households in some villages in Sindh and Bolachistan.
There is an urgent need to plan utilisation of massive wind resources in the wake of energy crisis. As the country's population is rapidly increasing therefore, authorities should look for a long term programmes for the electricity requirements of the country through different available sources.