IGCEP has drawn much criticism; one aspect of the plan that has been neglected is its lower ambition for variable renewable energy (VRE). Renewable energy targets have been scaled back.
The amount of solar and wind in the energy mix has been reduced to 12% in IGCEP 2021-30, down from 30% in the previous edition, which aligned with the government’s objectives and pledge of 30% non-hydro renewable energy by 2030.
It is a significant shift. While the IGCEP believes that Pakistan has promising solar and wind potential, which have also become the cheapest forms of power acquisition, their expectations have been lowered due to the related intermittency difficulties. Therefore, they need additional reserve capacity as backup energy.
This argument of “additional reserve requirements” is not only tainted by misunderstandings and misinformation, but it also contradicts the findings of a recent World Bank study (2020), which claimed that achieving the lowest-cost electricity mix in Pakistan would necessitate a rapid expansion of VRE, based on the exact Plexos modelling.
VRE has risen to become the world’s fastest-growing power source, owing to innovative and cost-effective integration solutions. Pakistan already possesses several pro-VRE attributes that could help it maximize its net gains. Wind power and solar photovoltaic (PV) are appropriate in dynamic power systems with expanding electrical demand, such as Pakistan’s, to meet additional demand while permitting system reform without putting incumbents under financial strain. In solar, the output profile corresponds to the need for electricity, making Pakistan naturally adaptable for integration.
Solar PV energy might be easily integrated and supplant the production of fuel-based thermal plants, resulting in significant variable cost reductions. Furthermore, it visualizes how VRE generation might cover critical elements of the peak load supply during summers and winters, based on a thorough examination of flexibility alternatives carried out in the World Commissioned study VRE Integration and Planning Study (2020).
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