At the moment over 1.3 billion people in the world live without electricity and one billion people, including around 700 million South Asians, will remain without electricity until 2030 if the nations don’t switch to alternative sources of energy since conventional sources would be becoming costlier with the each passing day, according to a report by the Hindustan Times.
This was stated by Carl Pope, a world renowend expert on renewable energy, during a programme organised by IUCN Pakistan on renewable energy at a local hotel on Friday. The event was attended by a large number of participants from the development as well as business sectors.
Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. About 16 percent of global final energy consumption comes from renewable resources, with 10 percent of all energy from traditional biomass, mainly used for heating, and 3.4 percent from hydroelectricity. New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels) accounted for another 3 percent and are growing very rapidly. The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 19 percent, with 16 percent of electricity coming from hydroelectricity and 3 percent from new renewables.
He shared comparative figures as to how the cost of coal, a major fossil fuel, has soared in the recent years. According to him, the cost of electric grids was increasing over the time with escalating cost of copper, a major raw material, making a case for focussing on renewable energy options.
He was of the view that the demand for coal was expected to rise in the world markets, mainly because growing economies like India and China have constructed more coal plants than they could run.
He mentioned that the good news was that the price of renewables like solar and LED lights has declined in the past few years in comparison.
He said the key was to making it economical for the communities to bear the upfront cost of renewable products like solar panels, wind turbines, etc.
The renewable energy expert also suggested the widely used model of “Pay as you go” which can now be accomplished though mobile phone payment mechanisms.
He opined that Pakistan has huge potential to develop renewable energy projects since it was the third largest off-grid population after India and Bangladesh and has excellent solar, bio-mass, micro-hydro opportunities coupled with centralized landowning, which could make credit guarantees easier.
“In Pakistan, electricity crisis is severe and destabilizing and there is an acute need to cut down on electricity generation costs. Due to this energy crisis, the country has suffered huge losses, making hundreds and thousands of people jobless,” he added.
Mir Hussain Ali, Sindh Secretary for Environment and Alternate Energy, talked about several projects that the government was currently working on.
Talking about the opportunities in the wind corridor, he said that the government was working on about 40 projects with various investors with total generation capacity of 2000 MW in the next two years.