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Pakistan needs to harness renewable energy | The Express Tribune

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KARACHI:

Climate change is reshaping the globe and transforming how we envision the future.

The Global South is experiencing more frequent and intense droughts, storms, floods, and heatwaves, with rising sea levels. Unfortunately, Pakistan is no different. The catastrophic floods in 2022 were mainly caused by increased precipitation and glacier melting due to climate change.

Besides government organisations, the major responsibility lies with private sector companies, which must act as enablers to contribute to a greener Pakistan. The destruction of the planet appears massive, and the world has very little time to revert to a sustainable plan.

The year 2022 saw a series of events that showed the imminent impact of the climate crisis: heatwaves across Europe, the water crisis in the US, devastating flooding in Pakistan, alongside hurricanes and tsunamis in other regions.

Sustainable initiatives should be embedded in business practices for generations to come. Corporations need to devise strategies to mitigate adverse effects on the climate of the planet.

Environmental conservation needs to be discussed, and concerned organisations should plan discussions on efforts geared towards planet restoration through sustainable natural practices. At the COP27 UN climate summit held in Egypt, an important breakthrough was reached as representatives from nearly 200 countries came together. A consensus was achieved on a global scale, emphasising the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% before 2030. This collective effort aims to effectively confront the critical challenges posed by climate change.

Keeping in mind the recent economic crisis, power companies and key stakeholders in Pakistan are focused on using indigenous resources, which will result in limited dependence on the import of expensive fuel for electricity generation. Innovative solutions are being implemented to increase the share of renewable sources, including solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy, and bioenergy.

Adding renewables to combat the power crisis is crucial for the power sector in Pakistan. One of the leading power generation companies plans to add 1,182 MW of renewables, with 200 MW in wind, 900 MW in solar, and 82 MW in hydel. These initiatives will ensure access to affordable and sustainable energy for customers.

A comprehensive 2030 agenda for sustainable development aims to achieve various targets, including a boost in the annual growth rate of real GDP per capita to 5%, access to electricity for 96% of the population, an increased manufacturing value added to 16% of GDP, an increase in the share of renewable energy consumption to 25%, and a decrease in projected emissions by 50%.

The plan also foresees a 30% increase in electric vehicle usage on roads. The Integrated Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) 2021-30 has been designed to cater to the long-term load growth forecast and reserve requirements. The country is focused on using indigenous and renewable energy sources, including hydro.

The long-term policy framework designed around sustainability drives greater good for social impact. Public and private sector organisations are bound to contribute to Pakistan’s share in making the world a better place for future generations. The energy crisis in Pakistan makes it impossible for business owners to run their day-to-day operations.

A stronger infrastructure comprising renewable energy in the power sector will not only result in a greener Pakistan but also address the climate catastrophes looming over us.

The writer is a freelance contributor. She writes about technology, education and social issues. She can be reached at hadiazaid2021@gmail.com

 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2023.

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