Energy is required to perform tasks of various nature. But the generation of energy comes with many side effects such as pollution and rapid consumption of available resources. However, there are those resources of energy as well that are capable to be used again and again. We call them renewable sources of energy.
Perhaps, the most appealing significance of renewable energy is its ability to be used again and again. Some other benefits of renewable energy are environmental and economic benefits. These include the generation of energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, non-renewable sources of energy are cheap and easy to use. How exactly they are good for the environment and humankind would be discussed in detail.
Before discussing the significant features of utilizing renewable energy, we’ll first mention a very brief overview of energy as well as its alternative forms.
What is energy?
Energy is referred to as the ability of a body to do work. Energy needs to be conserved to protect our environment from drastic changes, to save the depleting resources for our future generations.
The rate at which the energy is being produced and consumed can damage our world in many ways. In other words, it helps us to save the environment. We can reduce those impacts by consuming less energy.
Renewable and non-renewable energy sources
Renewable and non-renewable energy sources antagonize each other’s sphere of influence. Non-renewable energy sources include coal, gas, and oil whereas renewable energy sources occur in the form of solar, geothermal, biomass, wind, hydrogen, and water.
Significance of renewable energy
The first and foremost significance of using renewable energy is that renewable energy won’t run out. Renewable energy technologies use resources straight from the environment to generate power – which cannot be said for many types of fossil fuels.
The second most striking feature of renewable energy use is that it requires low maintenance. In most cases, renewable energy technologies require less overall maintenance than generators that use traditional fuel sources. This is because generating technology like solar panels and wind turbines either have few or no moving parts and don’t rely on flammable, combustible fuel sources to operate. Fewer maintenance requirements mean money-savings.
Another retreat about renewable energy sources is their low cost. As a matter of fact, renewable energy is a long-term saving plan. Since the operating cost of the windmill is low and it produces a form of free energy. Not only will you save on maintenance costs, but on operating costs as well.
Moreover, when we’re using a technology that generates power from the sun, wind, ocean, or natural processes, we don’t have to pay the refueling cost.
Another very appealing significance of renewable energy is the fact that this type of energy is environment-friendly. Renewable energy generation sources emit little to no greenhouse gases or other pollutants into the air, water, and ground. This means a considerable reduction in the carbon footprint and an overall positive impact on the natural environment. This is how renewable energy help in maintaining the safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Foreign debts and imported things have always been a burden on a nation’s income. Since renewable energy does not require fuels that are imported from fuel-rich countries so it lowers reliance on foreign energy sources. With renewable energy technologies, you can produce energy locally. This makes a nation energy independent.
Significance of renewable energy sources for Pakistan
Pakistan mainly has four renewable energy sources. These are wind, solar, hydro, and biomass.
Solar energy potential
Pakistan has tremendous potential to generate solar and wind power. The times of sunrise and sunset in Pakistan are influenced by the country’s moderate northern position in the hemisphere. The days in summer are long and in winter short. By utilizing the solar potential, Pakistan can make enough environment-friendly and carbon-free energy.
According to the World Bank, utilizing just 0.071 percent of the country’s area for solar photovoltaic (solar PV) power generation would meet Pakistan’s current electricity demand. Solar and wind power should be urgently expanded to at least 30 percent of Pakistan’s total electricity generation capacity. Expanding renewable energy can make electricity cheaper, achieve greater energy security, reduce carbon emissions, and help Pakistan save up to $5 billion over the next 20 years.
Wind energy and Pakistan
Wind is also an abundant renewable energy resource. Pakistan has several well-known wind corridors and average wind speeds of 7.87 m/s in 10 percent of its windiest areas. Sindh is considered a haven for wind energy, with perfect wind conditions, primarily in Karachi, Thatta, and Jamshoro. Coastal-line of Balochistan is yet another potential winding corridor.
Pakistan’s reliance on imported and local coal, RLNG, and natural gas has been decreasing over the last few years. Two dozen wind projects in Sindh are already contributing 1,235MW of clean energy to the national grid. Another 10 have been approved and are meant to add 610MW to the grid.
Dawood Wind Power Station, one of 14 Priority Energy Projects under CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor), is located on 1,720 acres of tidal flats 70 km east of Karachi.
Sindh province is rich in wind energy reserves. Its southern wind field covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers. The potential of wind energy development is about 11,000 megawatts, and the wind direction is stable, the wind speed is up to 7 meters/second.
However, much more is needed to explore the wind potential to its fullest capacity. It is interesting to note that we are contributing only 1,200MW of wind energy while our neighboring country India is generating 40,000MW of wind power and another 20,000MW through solar.
The use of renewable energy brings significant climate and social effects and promotes sustainable development.
Hydroelectric Potential of Pakistan
Hydropower is considered the cheapest, safest, and most environment-friendly power generation system in the world. At present, Pakistan is utilizing only 6595 MW of its total available capacity.
Pakistan was ranked 3rd in the world among the top 20 countries for newly installed hydropower capacity in 2018. The country was placed at the third position by the United Kingdom-based renowned organization — International Hydropower Association (IHA) — in its recently issued report titled “2019: Hydropower Status Report — Sector Trends and Insights”.
According to the IHA report while listing down the top 20 countries by newly installed capacity, Pakistan managed to add 2,487MW of hydel electricity in 2018 following China and Brazil.
Pakistan is a water-rich country but, unfortunately, Pakistan’s energy market investment in hydel power generation has been caught up in confusion and paradoxes for decades.
Pakistan is endowed with considerable water resources. According to Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), there is approximately 60,000 MW of hydropower potential in the country.
The construction of Mohmand Dam, located on Swat River, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is ongoing. Once completed, the dam will generate 800 MW of hydroelectricity, irrigate over 16,000 acres of land, and contribute heavily to the socio-economic uplift of the region, according to the office of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Furthermore, the construction of the dam would provide jobs to more than 16,500 people directly including 1050 Pakistani engineers and 15500 lab experts, and skilled construction staff according to reports of mainstream media.
Biogas potential of Pakistan
PDBP has successfully constructed 6 biogas plants of 50 cubic meters and 10 plants of 100 cubic meters so far for electricity generation under research & development.
All large biogas plants are fully functional. Pakistan has one of the largest unexploited biogas and coal resources in the world, the majority of the rural population uses firewood, biomass fuels, and kerosene for cooking, heating, and lighting.