In the US, a vast glitteringIvanpah solar facility will be commissioned by the end of this summer. It will produce 392 megawatt electricity, making it the largest concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in the world.
In the desert near Abu Dhabi, Middle East’s first large CSP — Shams-I — has already been commissioned, producing 100MW of electricity. The Saudis have bigger and ambitious plans for electricity from renewable sources. They want to produce 54,000MW from renewable sources, including 41,000MW from solar, by 2030.
Energy-starved Pakistan also has vast deserts but little plans to harness this abundantly available cheap source of energy. Pakistan can learn a lot and benefit tremendously by embracing the new technology to tap solar electrons. But despite facing crippling power crisis, it still lacks political will. The recently-announced energy policy offers little hope for its photovoltaics future as the policy has no major initiative to tap solar energy.
Europe, with its mostly overcast skies unfit to pull electrons from sun rays, has even bigger dream. It wants to generate solar power in Africa and transport it through undersea transmission cables to the continent to meet its future energy needs.
In short, Pakistan’s diplomacy is on trial for sure; it, of course, should help its neighbors and also work together with the US for peace in Afghanistan. But one would hope – that for the short-term objective of accommodating US plans – it does not walk into a booby trap in an already explosive situation.