Renewables’ growth remains sluggish in 15 years

Munawar Hasan
Wednesday, Jul 27, 2022

LAHORE: Renewables have shown slowest growth in power generation mix in the last 15 years starting 2006-07, according to a report on ‘Trends in Electricity Generation’ released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The country broadly relied on thermal power generation during 2006-21; however, due to environmental concerns, the world now discourages production from these sources which paved the way for green energy.

With the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, the focus was shifted to affordable and clean energy under Goal 7. Various targets were substantially set to increase share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. “The targets can be achieved through enhancing electricity generation capacity through alternate and renewable energy sources,” the report added.

Pakistan has also adopted new Alternate and Renewable Energy (ARE) policy 2019 with the aim to create a conducive environment for the sustainable growth of ARE Sector in Pakistan. This section highlights the renewable energy installed capacity of the country.

Renewable energy sources comprise of hydel, wind, solar, bagasse, geothermal, tidal wave etc. Pakistan is mainly using hydel, wind, solar and bagasse as renewable sources, whereas plans are also underway to tap other potential areas as Pakistan has abundant resources for green energy.

Data shows renewable energy mix in the total installed capacity is 30.1 percent. It further explains that out of 30.1 percent, hydel is 24.4 percent, wind comprises 3.1 percent, solar 1.4 percent, and bagasse 1.3 percent.

Over trends in sub-category-wise generation capacity show growth rate of installed capacity for the year 2021 against 2007.

During the period, nuclear plant based capacity of electricity increased by 316 percent. Thermal growth rate was 107 percent, whereas growth rate of hydel power increased by 53 percent.

Shifting of capacity to other sources such as bagasse, wind and solar-based plants in the system was also evident. The overall growth rate by all type of plants was 105.6 percent during 2021 over 2007.

The share of installed capacity of hydel contracted from 33 percent to 24 percent from 2007 to 2021 but in absolute terms its installed capacity increased from 6,474MW in 2007 to 9,912MW in 2021.

All other sources also expanded their share from 2007 to 2021 ie nuclear 2.16 percent to 4.36 percent, thermal 64.9 percent to 65.5 percent, bagasse 0 to 1.3 percent, solar 0 to 1.37 percent, and wind 0 to 3.06 percent.

However, thermal still remains the lead source of energy in Pakistan. The share of thermal-based electricity generation reached at maximum during 2018 (69.70 percent of the total capacity).

As of June 30, 2021, the total installed capacity of all the electricity generating establishments (thermal, nuclear, hydel and alternate sources) stood at 40,606MW. This indicates a slight increase of 0.98 percent over the installed capacity of 40,211MW during the previous year.

However, major increase in the installed capacity can be observed during 2016 and 2017. Since the creation of Pakistan, installed capacity has increased with an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of slightly above 10 percent.

A positive trend over time has been witnessed regarding installed capacity. It also indicates that from 2016, the market shows exponential growth which reached 40,606MW in 2021. Pakistan’s electricity generating capacity almost doubled during the last decade.

From 2007 to 2021, the installed capacity increased with an average annual growth of about 5 percent. However, during the last six years, a visible increase of 9 percent can be observed in the average annual growth, the report showed.