ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan has said that renewable energy, which is clean and environment-friendly, is future of Pakistan.

 “Pakistan is abundantly replete with the renewable energy sources, which can help the country cope with deepening energy crises and pave the way for achieving sustainable development goals,” the minister underlined.

In a press statement issued here on Sunday in the context of the Earth Hour event observed across the world including Pakistan, he explained that renewable energy is generally defined as energy that comes from resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat.

Highlighting the importance of marking the Earth Hour, the minister Mushahid Ullah Khan said that the global Earth Hour event, in fact, calls for the global climate action by investing in renewable energy technologies to free the world including Pakistan of reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation, which are unclean, unreliable and not environment-friendly.  

“However, the global event presses on need for tapping massively available renewable energy potential to achieve sustainable development goals including eradicating poverty, hunger, providing clean drinking water and basic health facilities,” he said.

Talking about identified areas replete with renewable energy sources, the minister said that Pakistan’s north is full of hydropower potential while western and eastern parts are known for abundant solar energy potential.

Apart from it, huge untapped wind energy potential has been identified in the country’s south.

Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan says there is no paucity of these natural resources of power generation and relevant government departments particularly the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) and Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET) need to play their due part to provide energy from these renewable energy sources, which are sustainable and eco-friendly.

Pakistan currently depends heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas resources for power generation, the minister said and warned, “These fossil fuels are non-renewable and will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve.”

In contrast, the many types of renewable energy resources-such as wind and solar energy-are continuously replenished and will never run out, he added.

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 the country, electricity crisis is severe and destabilizing. Thus, 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, the minister observed.

Mushahid UIllah Khan also said that the most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.

The sun’s heat also drives the winds, whose energy, is captured with wind turbines.

   Then, the winds and the sun’s heat cause water to evaporate. When this water vapour turns into rain or snow and flows downhill into rivers or streams, its energy can be captured using hydroelectric power, he elaborated and added that along with the rain and snow, sunlight causes plants to grow, Mushahid Ullah Khan highlighted.

Besides, the organic matter that makes up those plants is known as biomass. Biomass can be used to produce electricity, transportation fuels, or chemicals. The use of biomass for any of these purposes is called bio energy, he added.

Talking about falling prices of renewable, the minister Mushahid Ullah Khan said that the good news is that the prices of renewable like solar and LED lights have shown constant declining trend over last several years.

But what is important is to make it more economical for the communities to bear the upfront cost of renewable products like solar panels, wind turbines, etc.

“Above all, harnessing the sun’s power is deemed to be an attractive alternative. For, it is a renewable resource, which leads no pollution. In contrast to conventional fuels, its use requires no need for refining, transporting and conveying fuels and power over long distances,” the minister said.