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Personal Use Wind Turbines PTI Policy Paper

Personal Use Wind Turbines
Managing Energy Shortfall in Pakistan

February 2nd 2012
Energy demand has increased many folds throughout the world. In 2008, Pakistan energy shortfall was around 3000-4000[MW] per day which was expected to increase to 8,000 [MW] per day in 2010[1]. A handful of dams and nuclear power plants can easily overcome this shortfall. But there are constraints and problems that need to be addressed. Generally, an operational hydroelectric power plant would take around 5 years, condition if the feasibility already exists. One can easily add 5 years’ time for the ones that still need to be studied.  Unless we look at alternate and renewable sources of energy, it appears difficult to overcome this shortfall in the short run.
Due to the advancements made in aerospace sciences during the last century, the most economical and time effective way to generate renewable energy is through wind. Wind energy generation is fast and environmentally friendly as it has a minimal environmental impact with no hazardous emission. Although there are many different ways to generate electricity but none is more efficient than capturing wind energy using horizontal-axis wind turbine.
With an average wind speed of 5 [m/s], Pakistan has a lot of potential to generate energy using wind. Some initiative has been taken to install large wind turbines but they would not be able to overcome or even significantly reduce the shortfall. The challenges for large wind turbines are as follows,
·         Large wind turbines operate at high wind speeds so the average low speed winds do not get harnessed by them
·         There are limited number of wind corridors in Pakistan to accommodate large wind turbines
·         Wind corridors are mainly near the coast line hence the northern half of the country would still be missed
·         Even a large wind farm produces around 500[MW] of energy which is merely a fraction of Pakistan’s energy shortfall
·         Large wind turbines are expensive to make, install and operate. Without the bureaucracy involvement, such projects cannot be undertaken hence adding cost and time.
·         Large wind turbines would still require an complex wiring and grid system which would add cost and time

Government in Pakistan could promote the use of personal use wind turbines (PWT). It can be done either by subsidizing the use of PWTs or simply by educating people about its advantages. PWTs are small wind turbines to be used to power household appliances or to charge batteries. PWTs are small enough to be installed on rooftops on average Pakistani roofs. An ideal PWT would have the following dimension

Table 1: Desired characteristics of a personal use wind turbine (PWT)
Disk Diameter
1.8 [m] or 6 [feet]
Total Length
4.5 [m] or 15 [feet]
Actual Power at rated wind Speed
350 [W]
Rated Speed
5 [m/s]
Cut-In speed
2.5 [m/s]

If the government of Pakistan, or any other sector of the society, convinces enough people to use it, PWTs would help reduce or even eliminate the energy shortfall.  If 1 in 18 Pakistani gets a PWT (compare to 1 in 25 have a car[2]), it would make the total number of operational wind turbines to be 10,000,000. When an average yield of a PWT is 350 [W], to total alternate source power produced would be 3500 [MW]. This amount is good enough to significantly reduce the shortfall and even eliminate it during certain months.
Broader Impact
For an individual household, 350[W] can do the same as an average UPS does. Just to put things in perspective, 350[W] can run 3 fans and 3 energy savers. 
PWTs are beneficial because they
·         Reduce energy intake from the powerhouses hence less load on them
·         Save users in electricity bill
·         Are a renewable source of energy so it helps protect the environment
·         Do not require large capital to own one
·         Have low operating cost and low noise compared to fossil fuel (diesel, gasoline, natural gas) generators
·         Do not need complex grid system and would easily hook-up with existing UPS systems
·         Would help the local industry if made domestically (which can be easily done)

There are many other alternative short-term sources that can be used but they do not compare feasibly with PWTs. Solar power is a popular type that is being used but it has maintainability issues in a country like Pakistan, and not to mention the high cost associated with it. It is estimated that the PWTs would have better power to cost ratio than available solar panels.     
This document has proposed that PWTs are the most feasible way to reduce the energy shortfall in the short run. On permanent bases, the shortfall can only be managed by having large power plants, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants to name a few.

Haq, H. (2008). Energy crisis in Pakistan.

World Bank. (2006). Pakistan - Highway Data. Retrieved 2012, from The World Bank

[1] (Haq, 2008)
[2] (World bank, 2006)
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