Pakistani engineer identifies locations to install wind energy farms

By Rehmat Mehsud

Islamabad: After completing her research in the Oregon State University (OSU) in the field of Wind Energy as source of Renewable Energy, Engineer Samreen Siddiq has identified over a dozen of locations in Balochistan province to install wind energy farms to uplift power production by 2 gigawatts. In her interview with News Lens, Sonia Emaan, Specialist-Communication & Outreach U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Energy (USPCAS-E) National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), said one of the studies conducted by an engineer at NUST depicts that Pakistan is enriched with huge potential of renewable energy resources like wind, coal, bio-mass and solar.

Sonia said that after completing her research in the Oregon State University (OSU) in the field of Wind Energy, Samreen has identified approximately 20 sites in her research work which could contribute to uplift the power production of the country considerably. The USPCAS-E Center works on the capacity building of students and faculty members on the research facilities and pedagogy applied, to bring potential knowledge and upgraded outputs.

According to documents, the USPCAS-E at NUST was launched in 2014, is designed to support Pakistan’s economic development by strengthening the relevance and responsiveness of universities products, including applied and policy research and skilled graduates. One of the major goals of the USPCAS-E is to substantially improve the quality of energy engineering students so that they can provide their input for the improvement of conditions of Pakistan mainly in the area of Energy Policy, Renewable Energy Production and other core areas, the documents added.

Samreen belongs to Lahore, Pakistan and is from a middle class family. Her research mentions a field to policy makers, private sector stakeholders and the government to invest in wind farms amid shortage of electricity. She also lists out all the areas that have potentially good wind resource in Pakistan, her research study revealed. When contacted, Samreen said even though energy crisis has plagued Pakistan since its birth in 1947, this national dilemma received attention only in this century. As the population increased drastically in 1980s, with annual growth rates more than 3 per cent throughout the decade, Pakistan was struggling to shorten the wide gap between rising demand of energy and its restricted supply, she added.

Minister of water and power couldn’t be reached for comments, however, a senior official at the ministry who wished to go unnamed said Pakistan is facing acute power shortages and the situation tends to aggravate further with the fast-approaching summer season. He said that unannounced power outages paralyzed Pakistan’s aid dependent economy and his ministry would look into the research conducted by Samreen to implement the idea. Engineer Samreen is a student in Energy Systems Engineering, who visited Oregon State University (OSU) and worked in the field of Wind Energy as source of Renewable Energy.

She learned skills of Mapping Wind Energy Sources in different geographic regions. Based on her learning, she has been able to do in-depth research on Mapping the Wind Energy Locations and Sources of Pakistan. In her research, she lists out all the areas that have potentially good wind resource in Pakistan. When approached for comments, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Bilal Khan, principal of the USPCAS-E Center, said that engineers at the Center have great interest in working on renewable energy; one of his students has worked in area of micro-hydral energy.  “The provision of accurate data on wind and micro-hydral collected by the engineers of Center is crucial for government planning and policy making, and for initial site scoping by commercial developers,” he noted.

The study, he said would also help to lower the resource risk in project development, thereby, leading to lower electricity prices and increased supply for the intended power plants. Muhammad Hussain, a cloth merchant in the congested Rawalpindi City, told News Lens that the country’s industrial sector and business centers are facing electricity shortage. According to a study conducted by Abdul Samad, Fu Xiumei and Naveeda Sangi at Ocean University of China in 2016, Pakistan from a decade is undergoing a massive electricity shortfall. According to reliable sources the gap between electricity demand and its supply is 4500-5500 MWs, it stated.

Pakistan geographically located in South Asia with population of around 190 million, the electricity generation in Pakistan comprises of four major entities, i.e. Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC), Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). Two vertically integrated public entities, i.e. WAPDA, which serves entire country except economical capital- Karachi and KESC that solely facilitates Karachi as well as its surroundings. Due to unrealistic power tariff, irrational subsidies and higher degree of inefficiency; these entities were unable to fill the gap between the ever increasing demand of power and its proficient supply, the study stated.

When contacted for comments, Engineer Zuhar Khan, director of the USPCAS-E Center, said that the Center pays a greater attention to collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders. “The research may add assistance in better scheduling with the existing hydro and thermal power stations,” Khan said in reference to Samreen’s research. Samreen said that it was initially intimidating to visit a completely different culture for the first time, to see everything being done differently but she learnt much during this exchange program. “As part of the exchange program, I visited a number of hydro power plants and a wind farm which gave me a visual picture of everything,” she concluded.

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