As quoted by Associated Press and local news agencies, the Pakistani government said 16 solar and wind projects that are under development in the country have completed financial closing and will be “fully operationalized” within this year. Together, the 16 projects have a total generation capacity of 860MW.
The Alternative Energy Development Council of the Pakistani government is currently working toward a renewable energy target that was announced in 2020. Specifically, the share of renewable energies that excludes hydropower will be raised from 6% of the country’s energy mix to 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2030. While Pakistan’s renewable energy industry is fairly underdeveloped at this moment, efforts are being ramped up to implement major solar and wind projects.
According to reporting by local news agencies, these 16 Alternative Renewable Energy (ARE) projects were planned a long time ago but then suspended at the end of 2017. The government has recently decided to restart them, and they will constitute the initial growth driver of the domestic renewable energy industry.
More ARE projects have entered the development pipeline, and they are divided into three categories. Category 1 comprises 19 projects with a total generation capacity of 531MW, Category 2 comprises 24 projects with a total generation capacity of 1.339GW, and Category 3 comprises 110 projects with a total generation capacity of 6.707GW. The projects in the first two categories are eligible for subsidy, though their feed-in tariff rates are subject to further adjustments on account of certain conditions. The third category has the largest number of projects, but they are also tenders that will be awarded to specific bidders following a competitive auction.
Latest data and analyses from various sources indicate that Pakistan depends heavily on thermal power plants to meet its electricity demand. Hydropower also constitutes a significant portion of its electricity generation. As for other renewable energies and nuclear power, they collectively account for around 10% of the country’s energy mix.
In November last year, World Bank reported that Pakistan’s current electricity demand could be met by allocating merely 0.071% of its area for solar projects. The same report also stated that the country has wind corridors that are very suitable for the establishment of wind farms.