ISLAMABAD: With the renewable energy share expected to touch 46 per cent in the next 10 years, the government has estimated that generation capacity will increase to 57,000 megawatts from 42,000MW at a cost of $72 billion.

According to an Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP 2024-34) submitted to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) for approval, the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has estimated about 46pc increase in electricity demand over the 10 years in the business as usual (low growth), about 59pc growth in demand in the medium case and about 74pc in high growth case. It would need an estimated investment of $62-64bn.

Three long-term forecast scenarios, as per the prevailing Grid Code, have been prepared for the Low (Business as Usual) and Medium (Optimistic) at normal GDP growth of 3.5pc and High at a GDP growth rate of 6pc.

Under the 10-year Transmission System Expansion Plan (TSEP 2024-34), another $8.7 bn would be required for the transmission network during the same period. This would include $3.2bn for the completion of ongoing projects and about $5.5bn for new projects.

Plan chalked out to expand generation capacity to 57,000MW by 2034

The least-cost, long-term generation expansion plan for the country’s power system was developed using state-of-the-art generation planning software PLEXOS.

The IGCEP 2024 is developed through a rigorous data modelling and optimisation exercise based on the existing and future generation power projects, existing policy framework, existing contractual obligations, natural resource allocations, relevant provisions of prevailing Grid Code, and assumptions laid down in the National Electricity Policy 2021 along with some additional assumptions, the NTDC said.

The base case scenario is developed on low scenario of long-term forecast, existing contractual obligations and retirements of power projects, during the planning horizon of the IGCEP, as per terms of their respective Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), except KAPCO.

For the study, 8,330MW of existing power generation capacity is taken as retired during the plan period in all cases.

The hourly demand forecast has been developed specifically to accommodate the intermittency of variable renewable energy resources such as wind and solar PV.

This is particularly important in view of the aggressive government targets for renewable energy. Hence, the energy and peak demand forecast of 87,600 hours has been estimated from FY24 to 34.

In the base case, the country’s demand and installed capacity are 37,224MW and 56,046MW, respectively, by the year 2034.

It is to highlight that in the said installed capacity, the share from variable renewable energy (VRE) resources includes 5,539MW of Solar PV (utility solar & net metering) and 1,942MW of Wind.

Apart from VREs only 87MW of hydro is optimised by the tool. It is added that the above solar PV quantum includes 2,107MW of net metering spread over the study horizon.

The results show a shift in the energy mix (GWh) from imported fuel to indigenous ones, i.e., local coal and a dominating share of renewables and hydropower.

The base case shows a major contribution from renewables, i.e., 46pc of hydropower and 10pc of variable renewable energy in the overall energy mix by 2034.

There is minimal reliance on imported fuels, with RFO having no contribution to the energy mix. In contrast, imported coal (due to contractual binding) and RLNG contribute just 9pc and 4pc to the total energy requirements, respectively.

The share of indigenous fuels stands at 31pc, including 9pc of local coal, 5pc of local gas and 17pc of nuclear in the overall energy mix.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

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