With Pakistan failing to fulfill its energy demand through thermal and hydroelectric power plants, it is exploring other sources of energy to meet the... Can Wind Energy help Pakistan overcome energy crisis?

With Pakistan failing to fulfill its energy demand through thermal and hydroelectric power plants, it is exploring other sources of energy to meet the energy requirements. One energy source being explored is wind energy. Wind energy has a huge potential in Pakistan, especially along the states close to the ocean. According to USAID, Pakistan can generate 150,000 megawatts of electricity through wind, with 40,000 megawatts can be generated just in Sindh.

How does wind energy work?

Wind energy is produced through a system that converts the earth’s natural resource, wind, into wind energy. The system consists of a giant fan like propeller turbine, rotor, shaft, gearbox, and generator. It is mounted on a 100 feet tall tower so that the propeller can receive fast wind speeds. The propeller starts spinning at wind speeds of 3-5 meters per second. Once the propeller turbine starts spinning, it rotates the rotor. The rotor then rotates the main shaft connected to the gearbox. The gearbox spins the generator which in turn produces electricity.

Wind propeller

History of wind energy

Wind was first utilized around 5000 B.C. in the Middle East by sailors to propel boats along river Nile. The Chinese used it around 200 B.C. to pump water. By 11th century, people in Middle East were using windmills to produce food. European merchants who travelled to Middle East and China during that time adopted this technique, and used it to drain lakes in Europe. Settlers from Europe, who migrated to USA in the 19th century, used this technique to pump water for farms and ranches.

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Worldwide uses

Wind power is used to generate electricity in more than 100 countries around the world. Majority of the countries in Europe use wind power as an energy resource. Wind turbine is widely used in USA, and is fast becoming renewable energy source in China and India. The US Energy Information Administration states that 12 US states produce 80% of their total power through wind turbine. The highly populated Texas and California states are the top users of wind power to generate electricity. California produced 4,258 million kilowatts of electricity in 2004, which was enough to light up all of San Francisco.

China generates 114,763 megawatts of electricity through wind turbine; making it one of the largest users of wing power in the world. A study conducted revealed that China produces more electricity through wind turbine than America does through nuclear energy!

India started setting up wind turbines in the 1990’s and is now among the top 5 countries in the world which generates electricity through wind power. Tamil Nadu produces the most wind energy, around 4906 megawatts. India plans to add more turbines every year with a capacity to produce 10,000 megawatts of electricity. General Electric which is the biggest manufacturer of wind turbines in India will invest $200 million in its facility to increase the production of wind turbines. This will enable India to reach its goal of increasing wind power.

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Use in Pakistan

At the moment wind turbines are mostly set up in Sindh. There are few planned to be set up in Punjab and Baluchistan, but they haven’t been approved yet. Pakistan’s first wind power plant at Jhimpir in Sindh was developed by a Turkish firm. It generates 50 megawatts of electricity. The Three Gorges First Wind Farm Pakistan Ltd also built at Jhimpir generates 50 megawatts of electricity too. Foundation Wind Energy 1 and 2 were also set up in Sindh, both capable of generating 50 megawatts each.

Majority of the wind farms in Sindh are set up in Jhimpir, while the others in Gharo district. According to Pakistan’s Metrological Department, Sindh has roughly 9749 km² available for wind farms with a wind capacity of 25%. These areas would be able to produce 11,000 megawatts of electricity which can fulfill much of Sindh’s electricity demands.

How can Wind energy benefit Pakistan

Wind energy is a good option for Pakistan. It doesn’t need fuel which is a good thing since the power plants already set up in Pakistan require fuel, which raises the cost of electricity per unit whenever fuel price is increased.

Landlords who allow wind turbines to be set up on their land will receive rent. This will benefit them as only little land is needed for the wind turbines to be set, they can use the rest of the land for farming or livestock.

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Wind energy is a good option for Pakistan. Since the traditional method of producing electricity in Pakistan has failed to fulfill the energy demands, wind energy should be able to fulfill the requirements.