For the first time in many decades, Pakistan is producing excess electricity. However, weak revenue generation, heavy line losses, and a strong dependency on imported fuels have made the energy sector of Pakistan a cause for circular debt on the country. A strong energy sector is fundamental to continued socioeconomic development. The scenario also creates an increase in local fuel prices and limits the potential of the establishment of new industrial zones in the country. Pakistan’s energy demands are increasing by 6 to 8% per annum, and the country is in dire need of renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, hydro, and biomass. Not only will these resources add to the energy mix of Pakistan, but they will also contribute to climate change reduction efforts and the sustainable development of the country.
According to a report published by China Economic Net, Pakistan’s rural areas have huge biomass reserves that produce 12 million cubic metres of methane gas per day. However, the utilization of biogas is slow and uneven depending on the available sources. Biogas has also not become the subject of interest as Pakistan is open to vast natural gas reserves in Qatar and Iran, which is cheaper than biogas. However, biogas has its replaceable advantages. It can produce electricity and the heat can be used as fuel for vehicles and bio manure for crops after treatment. Compared to natural gas which comes from coal and oil mining, biogas is a renewable resource with continuous production and use cycle. The fuel generates zero net carbon dioxide, and by consuming waste and producing energy at the same time, it is the only zero-carbon fuel in the real sense of all renewable sources.
In a training workshop held on biogas promotion and management, organised by Biogas Institute of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs China, students from universities, government officials, research institutes, and enterprises took part to deepen cooperation on the expansion of biogas technology in Pakistan. The already installed biogas plants across the country save an average of rupees 455 million annually in terms of kerosene oil, wood, liquefied petroleum gas, and biofertilizer. Even though the cost of procuring biogas is higher than natural gas, climate pollution is becoming a global problem and requires concerted effort. According to estimations, 30% of rural households in Pakistan are suitable for biogas consumption. However, it is necessary to raise public awareness and establish research institutes for the development of the technology and human resource required for the project. Also, appropriate monitoring equipment and evaluation tools are required to gauge the successful implementation of the program. If implemented properly, Pakistan can generate enough electricity from its biogas reserves in rural areas that local industries and small and medium enterprises can thrive and flourish on cheap electricity.