KARACHI, Nov 9: The wind and solar energy potential in Sindh is huge and needs to be exploited immediately, said speakers at a select gathering held to launch a wind turbine indigenously developed at a research centre of the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (Szabist).

The programme was held at the Centre of Renewable Energy and Research in Gharo on Friday.

The 6kVA wind turbine will supply energy to Jafar Jukio village located half-an-hour-drive away from the centre.

Speaking at the programme, Dr Nasim A. Khan, a retired brigadier who served as the head of the Alternate Energy Development Board and vice chancellor of the Hamdard University, said that he had recommended to the government that it order all universities in the province to just focus on wind energy research in the next five years.

“This would help in the local production of inexpensive but efficient wind turbines. Currently, wind energy is costly because all the components used in the turbine are imported,” he said.

Initially during the late 90s it was estimated that the wind corridor had a capacity of generating 50,000 megawatts of electricity. However, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory later found the capacity to be of 110,000 megawatts in 2007, he said.

“With this level of potential, we could do wonders. But, unfortunately, this has not been the case. Today, we are looking towards China, Germany and Turkey to help us harness our natural resources. But, we need to look at ourselves as we have all the required expertise and talent,” he said, adding that local production was the only way to make wind energy affordable.

Giving example of India, he said that lessons could be learnt from the country which was making use of wind energy according to the capacity and needs of a specific area. He suggested the use of wind power for lower parts of Sindh while solar energy for upper parts of the province and said that implementation on such projects required a leadership with a vision who could carry out them on sustainable basis.

Dr Imran Amin, head of the Computing Department and Centre for Renewable Energy Research, Szabist, briefed the audience on the locally developed turbine and the energy crisis with the help of a presentation. There had been an 85 per cent increase in the global energy consumption between 1970 and 1999 and the figures would be tripled by 2020, he said while pointing out that the global reserves of fossil fuel were fast depleting in the world and, subsequently, there had been a sharp increase in their prices over the years.

Highlighting the features of the 50-metre-high wind turbine, he said that different local technologies had been used in a modified way. The composite technology used in the manufacturing of the turbine blade had proved to be more efficient and superior in design and performance and a process was under way to apply for a patent.

“The total cost incurred on manufacturing came to around Rs1 million. It could be reduced, however, with an increase in wind turbine capacity and production,” he said.

The research centre, he said, had also developed a solar cooker and wood-gas stove that used a handful of wood and gave clean fuel for more than an hour.

“The wind turbine if developed on a mass scale would help communities, reduce trade deficit, air pollution and improve national economy and security, among other things,” he said.

Dr Azra Fazal, chancellor of Szabist and an MNA, spoke about the institute’s aims and achievements and said that a programme on renewable energy would be started at Szabist in coming months.

Dr Saqib Razavi, president Szabist also spoke.

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