KARACHI: Pakistan spends billions of dollars to import oil for catering to the growing energy needs of the country while ignoring the huge potential of renewable energy, when even the oil-soaked nations were focusing to meet their needs from the cheap and green renewable energy.
Saudi Arabia – one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world – recently admitted that oil does not represent the energy source of the future. During the recent Global Economic Symposium conference in Rio de Janeiro, Prince Turki alFaisal alSaud of Saudi Arabia said, “I would like to see Saudi Arabia using 100% renewable energy within my lifetime.”
Makkah, which hosts millions of pilgrims a year, was working toward becoming the first city in Saudi Arabia to operate an entire power plant from renewable energy sources. However, Pakistan which is rich in renewable energy sources of solar and wind energy had yet to adopt a vision for boosting this sector to curtail its every increasing oil import bill.
Pakistan’s oil import bill soared 43.52% to reach $12.583 billion during the first ten months (July-April) of the outgoing financial year 2011-2012 against $8.768 billion in the corresponding period of last year, according to latest figures released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
The break-up of $12.583 billion oil import revealed that the country imported petroleum products worth $8.355 billion in the period, up 69.81% compared with $4.920 billion of July 2010 -April 2011. Meanwhile, import of petroleum crude increased 9.89% to $4.228 billion during the period under review against $3.848 billion of the corresponding period of the last year.
Renewable energy in Pakistan was a relatively underdeveloped sector; however, in recent years, there had been some interest by environmentalist groups and the authorities to explore renewable energy resources for energy production, in light of the energy crises and power shortages affecting the country. Most of the renewable energy in Pakistan came from hydroelectricity.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2012.