Population Access to Electricity (2008): 57.6%Rural: 46%Urban: 78%70.4 million people do not have access to electricity.Two separate grids form the electricity transmission network in the country, the national grid operated by the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), and a dedicated grid for Karachi, the Kerachi Electric Supply Company Limited (KESC). These networks are interconnected via a 220 kV line. The NTDC currently operates approximately 4,160 km of 500 kV transmission line, and a further 4,000 km of 220 kV line .
During the mid-80s, Pakistan made its first move towards exploring renewable energy options. The government invested 14 million rupees towards feasibility studies for solar energy and biogas production between 1983 and 1988. However, no significant project developments resulted from this investment .New energy policies were also instituted in 1994, 1998 and 2002. The 2002 Power Policy, currently still in place, encouraged the use of local resources, including renewable energy. This policy aimed to develop approximately 500 MW of renewable (non-hydro) power generation by 2015, and roughly 1,000 MW by 2020. Although various energy policies implemented between 1985 and 2002 stressed the need for employing renewable energy resources, none provided a framework for the implementation of such projects. RE development was virtually non-existent, as these policies failed to attract private sector confidence and investment .The Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) introduced the Policy for Development of Renewable Energy for Power Generation Employing Small Hydro, Wind, and Solar Technologies in 2006. This is Pakistan’s first energy policy aimed specifically at the promotion of RE power projects. The goal under this policy is for RETs to provide 10% of Pakistan’s energy supply mix by 2015. The policy focuses on solar energy, wind energy and small-scale hydropower projects. The policy objectives are to :increase the deployment of RETs (thereby diversifying the energy supply mix and increasing energy security);promote private sector investment in RETs through incentives and by developing RE markets;develop measures to mobilise financing;facilitate the development of a domestic RET manufacturing industry (lowering costs, improving service, generating employment and improving local technical skills);increase per capita energy consumption and social welfare, especially in remote and rural areas, where poverty can be alleviated and the burden on women collecting biomass fuel can be reduced; andpromote environmental protection and awareness.Realising the importance of biodiesel, the AEDB has initiated the National Biodiesel Programme, and formulated a policy for the use of biodiesel as an alternate fuel in Pakistan. The policy is primarily aimed at reducing the country’s fuel import bill, promoting the demand for biodiesel raw material, which will be the primary commodity for biodiesel production. One of the salient features of the policy is to achieve a minimum biodiesel share of 5% by volume of total diesel consumption in the country by the year 2015, and 10% by 2025 .The Pakistan National Energy Policy was announced on April 22, 2010, by Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gillani in response to growing power shortages in the country. The announcement was made after a three day conference in Islamabad that discussed the causes of the power crisis in Pakistan and possible steps to relieve it. Measures were aimed at cutting consumption by 500 MW. The official weekend was extended from one to two days. Neon signs and decorative lights were banned. Power was cut to government offices by 50%, and air conditioners were only allowed to be switched on after 11 am. Street markets were asked to close early.. The government would pay off its USD1.38 billion debt to power producers allowing them to pay fuel suppliers. Power supply to Pakistan's commercial capital Karachi was decreased by 300 MW in order to allow fairer distribution of power to the remaining parts of the country.] Tube wells were not allowed to operate from 7 pm to 11 pm.
Pakistan's current electricity generation mix has a growing and ultimately unsustainable reliance on imported gas and fuel oil. Imported energy is in the range of 30% of the total energy mix and has increased each year for the past 5 years. Pakistan has a huge RE potential (50,000MW from hydropower, 40,000 MW from wind energy). Solar energy too offers opportunities .Solar Energy Pakistan lies in a region of high solar irradiance; as such, it is ideally suited for solar energy projects. Pakistan receives about 15.5x1014 kWh of solar irradiance each year, with most regions receiving approximately 8 to 10 sunlight hours per day. The potential installed capacity of solar photovoltaic power is estimated to be 1,600 GW per year, providing approximately 3.5 PWh of electricity (approximately 41 times current power generation in the country). Current utilisation is still at a developmental stage, with several pilot projects being implemented.Wind Energy Wind energy also has strong technical potential in Pakistan, particularly in the southern regions of Sindh and Balochistan. Pakistan has approximately 1,000 km of coastline with steady average wind speeds ranging between 5 and 7 m/s. The projected installed capacity for wind energy is estimated at 122.6 GW per year, providing approximately 212 TWh of electricity (approximately 2.5 times the current power generation level). The Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) has awarded 19 contracts to IPPs for construction of wind power plants, all with capacities exceeding 50 MW.Biomass Energy Biomass availability in Pakistan is also widespread. Approximately 50,000 tonnes of solid waste, 225,000 tonnes of crop residue and over 1 million tonnes of animal manure are produced daily. It is estimated that potential production of biogas from livestock residues is 8.8 to 17.2 billion meters3 of gas per year (equivalent to 55 to 106 TWh of energy). Large sugar industry in Pakistan also generates electricity from biomass energy for utilization in sugar mills. Annual electricity production from bagasse is estimated at 5,700 GWh – about 6% of Pakistan’s current power generation level . In the present electricity crisis recently government allowed sugar mills to supply their surplus power up to a limit of 700 MW to the national grid. It is estimated that sugarcane bagasse can potentially be used to generate 2000 MW of electric power. However presently it is difficult to obtain more electricity from sugar mills due to grid limitations because most of the sugar mills are located in remote rural areas which are not even connected to the national grid. Integration of electricity generated from biomass energy to the national grid can ease the electricity shortage in the country.Hydropower Presently, large hydro power dams are the only major renewable energy sources in Pakistan for electricity generation. In some cases construction of large hydro dams results in major relocation of people and changes in land use for the areas in which the dams are built. These projects have become controversial in Pakistan in recent years due to significant impact on rivers, ecosystems, and surrounding communities. . Currently, Pakistan has installed hydropower capacity of approximately 6.6 GW. This is 16% of total hydropower potential, which is estimated to be roughly 41.5 GW . Biogas A total biogas generation potential of 14.25 million m3/day is available. The Pakistan Council of Renewable Energy Technologies is designing, developing and disseminating biogas plants. During the last 3 years, more than 1600 plants, mostly of 5 m3/day capacity, have been installed by the PCRET. NGOs and private sector companies have performed similar numbers of installations. This means that a total of 0.016 million m3/day of biogas capacity was utilised during the last 3 years, with an annual exploitation factor of 0.374 x 10-3. The working status of biogas plants installed before the last 3 years is uncertain, as there are no repair and maintenance services.Geothermal EnergyPakistan has considerable potential for geothermal energy (80,000 MW) as there are numerous fumaroles and hot springs. However, the extent of the commercial potential is not known, and further studies are needed.