Solar and Wind Plants can save $5bn annually

A new World Bank study, “Variable Renewable Energy Integration and Planning Study”, has concluded that by exploiting the solar and wind power potential Pakistan can save more than $5 billion per year.

The report has emphasised the fact that Pakistan’s power sector is strongly influenced by circular debt. It also heavily relies on fossil fuels for generation of energy. According to the study, many sources of fossil fuel generation are no longer competitive and should be retired or their use significantly reduced. The installation of solar and wind (“variable renewable energy,” or VRE) would mean direct savings of around $5 billion per year mainly from reduced fuel consumption.

In accordance with the vision of the Govt. of Pakistan of increasing the share of renewable energy to 30 percent by 2030, Pakistan needs to urgently implement a major expansion of solar and wind (VRE). It further stated that at least 6,700 MW of wind and 17,500 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV) should be added by 2030 to achieve the government targets in a least cost way. The optimum electricity mix would require even greater additions: a total of 27,400 MW of VRE by 2030. If this were achieved, the VRE share would represent 30–33 percent of a total installed capacity i.e 85,000 to 88,000 MW by 2030.