Wind Energy- an Overview
Energy is a key infrastructural requirement for the modern industrial economy. Energy provides an essential ingredient for almost all human activities. Historically, Pakistan has been an energy-deficient country. Because of the fast-growing population and economy, the demand of energy is rapidly increasing. Pakistan is in danger of facing huge energy deficits in the coming years. The potential, for the use of alternative technologies, has never been fully explored in Pakistan. Pakistan needs to pursue renewable energy resources which are used extensively worldwide. One of the alternative energy resources is Wind that is used across the globe and its technology is becoming efficient day by day.
The demand for energy has increased tremendously in the last few decades in Pakistan and is expected to increase further in the coming years. The continued power and energy crises for the past several years have affected the GDP negatively. The current electricity shortage in peak summer season is about 5500 MW and it reduces to about 3000 MW in winter season. Pakistan is currently producing most of its electricity from imported oil and natural gas. The use of natural gas in generating electricity reduces the share of it for other consumers while generation of electricity from imported oil is extremely expensive and is a huge burden on import bill. Curtailment of availability of natural gas, necessitating usage of expensive furnace oil, and overall decline in the share of hydel-power generation in the total generation, results in a sustained higher cost of electricity generation. The proposed energy mix by government is designed to decrease dependence on natural gas and oil by shifting focus on coal, renewable and nuclear resources.
Source: Ministry of Water and Power
The demand of electricity in the country will continue to rise in the future. It is reported that Pakistan electricity demand will reach 40,000 MW by 2020 and 100,000 MW by 2035. Special efforts are required to bridge the rising gap between the demand and supply of electricity.
Summary of Forecast Demand
Pakistan is bestowed with a good wind resource unlike many other countries in the world. The wind map of Pakistan developed by National Renewable Energy Labs (USA) identifies that wind with good to excellent speeds is available in many parts of the country with a total potential of about 340,000 MW. The Gharo-Keti Bandar Wind Corridor, in the South of Pakistan, having an approximate potential of 50,000 MW is the most attractive to investors at this point due to good resource potential as well as its close proximity to major load centers and the national grid. Wind energy is commercially viable and technically feasible. It provides us an opportunity to fulfill our energy needs by using environment friendly, pollution-free and infinitely sustainable form of energy.
The 2012 global wind power market grew by more than 10% compared to 2011, and the installation of nearly 45 GW of new wind power that came on line represents investments of about â‚¬ 56 billion. The new global total at the end of 2012 was 282.5 GW, representing cumulative market growth of more than 19%. Europe and Asia are the worldâ€™s largest regional markets for wind energy with total installed capacity of 109.5 GW and 97.5 GW respectively. China is the largest market for wind since 2009 with cumulative installed capacity of 75.32 GW. Chinaâ€™s National Energy Administration (NEA) expects installations of about 18 GW of new wind power capacity in 2013. In 2012, USA installed 13.1 GW wind energy which made it the market leader for 2012 in terms of new wind installations globally.
The graph below presents a detailed picture of the countries positioning for installed wind energy capacity.
India installed new wind energy of 2,336 MW by the end of 2012, for a cumulative total of 18,421 MW. On the other hand, Pakistan recently installed wind energy of only 106 MW which are installed by FFC Energy Ltd. and Zorlu Energy Pakistan Ltd. with capacity of 49.5 MW and 56.4 MW respectively in Jhimpir in Thatta district of Sindh province. India focused on renewable energy timely and has been an attractive market for investors especially due to its policy of incentive on investment like high depreciation benefit rates. Policy makers in Pakistan failed to realize the importance of renewable energy in a timely manner. The wind energy concept is nascent in Pakistan and government policies and initiatives are taken late as compared to the other regional countries like India and China. As a result, Pakistan has faced lack of suppliers and investors and technical assistance.
The Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) and the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) are trying their best to cope up with the international wind energy scenario. NEPRA has announced Feed-in-Tariff for the wind energy projects to facilitate investors. Now the availability of wind energy equipment suppliers and technical assistance does not remain an issue. Eight wind energy projects are in pipeline to start generation of 550 MW by 2013 and 33 with a total capacity of around 2,200 MW are in various stages of the project development process. Renewable energy policy of government intends to achieve the generation of 2,500 MW wind energy by 2015 and 9,700 MW by 2030. If the stated projects start to deliver on time then Pakistan would be a sizeable wind energy market of the world in the near future.
Worldâ€™s three largest wind turbine supplier companies are GE Wind (USA), Vestas (Denmark) and Siemens (Germany) respectively. Vestas was displaced from the No.1 position for the first time since claiming the top spot in 2000. GE Wind ascended from No. 3 to No. 1 position due to boosted demand within USA. China is the only country having four suppliers within global top 10. In 2012, Goldwind (China) and Sinovel (China) lost their 2nd and 3rd position which they occupied in 2011 to 7th and 9th respectively, showing a resurgence of western manufacturers in this field.
A newer technology for utility-scale wind turbines known as â€œDirect drive wind turbinesâ€ grew in popularity. It eliminates the gearbox by use of a low-speed, permanent magnet generator, as the term "direct drive" suggests. Besides simplifying the turbineâ€™s drive train, direct drive (DD) offers increased efficiency, decreased system weight, potentially higher reliability due to fewer parts, low noise levels, reduced maintenance and ultimately higher return on the investment. More than 14 companies globally offered wind turbines with a direct drive, Goldwind (China) being the world leader in this technology.
Wind energy is a technologically stable and commercially viable form of power generation. Pakistan is lagging behind in the utilization of this resource. This is partly due to lack of understanding at various level of policy, and public understanding, at large. As part of our drive to become energy sufficient we need to develop alternative energy sector specially wind power. To do so we need to better understand this technology and remove various prevailing misconceptions about it.