Experts urge transfer of China's renewable energy expertise to Pakistan

By Mariam Raheem | Gwadar Pro Mar 18, 2023

ISLAMABAD, March 18. (Gwadar Pro) - "Cooperation between China and Pakistan can help Pakistan benefit from China's expertise in renewable energy, including solar and wind energy. Sino-Pak cooperation opportunities lie in renewable energy assessment, project investment and development, technology training, etc," highlighted Qin Haiyan, secretary-general of the China Wind Energy Association.

In a recent webinar titled "Pakistan's Green Energy Pathways - Inspirations from China" hosted by energy and environment thinktank Renewable First (RF), Qin attributed China's wind power market growth to factors such as the Renewable Energy Law and a stable domestic market. He added that China has significantly reduced the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for onshore and offshore wind projects over the past decade, with a 60% reduction in offshore projects.

As the world's largest market for wind power for 14 years running, China is sharing wind power technologies such as wind turbines with Pakistan, contributing to cost reductions in electricity generation in the country. By the end of 2022, China's cumulative installed wind power capacity had exceeded 396 GW, the secretary-general said.

China has built more than 20 power plants in cooperation with Pakistan and trained thousands of local wind energy professionals, claimed Leo Deng, a Pakistan-based consultant on the power project, in an interview with Gwadar Pro. He added, wind and solar power are the cheapest new forms of electricity generation and possibly could dramatically reduce Pakistan’s dependence on expensive imported fuels.

The Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) 2047, issued by NEPRA, forecasts Pakistan's total power generation to increase from 33,000 megawatts in 2020 to approximately 168,200 megawatts in 2047, with wind and solar power accounting for 23% of the energy mix by 2030, up from around 3% in 2020.

Leo believes that the Pakistani government's push towards renewable energy is a great opportunity for Chinese and Pakistani companies to collaborate and enhance the supply chains both upstream and downstream.

Pakistan has abundant wind resources mainly concentrated in Sindh and Baluchistan. However, the country's existing power system has been non-robust, and large-scale wind power generation must be connected to the grid, which challenges the existing system. It is therefore crucial to transfer Chinese knowledge and experience in RE deployment to Pakistan, which is facing electricity challenges and seeking ways to increase its use of renewable technologies.

To overcome such constraints and hurdles, Hassan Daud Butt, Associate Professor at Bahria University, highlighted the need for key interventions regarding ease of doing business in Pakistan, including the need for creating an enabling environment to reduce perceived risks for investors to promote investment in renewable energy in Pakistan. He suggested that Pakistan should follow China's example by creating a comprehensive framework with clear objectives and a stable and predictable environment for investors.

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