Strathclyde to help shape Pakistan’s electricity investment landscape

Electricity pylons

A lecturer from the University of Strathclyde has joined forces with Pakistan’s National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) to help transform the country’s electricity generation and transmission.

Backed by funding from the World Bank, the project will see Strathclyde work with the NTDC to introduce an innovative tailor-made decision-support tool that will shape the country’s distinctive electricity network to help ensure resilience in the face of climate change.

Despite contributing less than 1% of global greenhouse emissions, Pakistan ranks as the eighth most vulnerable nation to climate crises according to the Global Climate Risk Index.

Pakistan has tremendous potential to generate solar and wind power. The country’s goal is to attain 60 percent of its energy from renewable sources, including hydro, by 2030. This objective requires investments in both renewable power generation and the transmission of produced electricity.

Optimal utilisation

The decision-support tool aims to offer investment recommendations for both electricity generation and transmission network capacity. These recommendations will strategically balance the costs of investing in generation against the expenses of constructing new transmission infrastructure, ensuring the optimal utilisation of generated power.

The project is being led by Dr Waqquas Bukhsh, a lecturer in advanced optimisation for power systems in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, and aims to revolutionise how Pakistan plans its electricity investments.

Dr Bukhsh said: “This project holds the promise of a truly transformative impact driven by Strathclyde’s research. The decisions enabled by our advanced modelling tools will enhance electricity provision in a country that is home to over 220 million people.

"More-developed nations have a responsibility to support electricity provision in developing regions, in particular to support an increase in renewable power generation. Our modelling capabilities can offer decision-support for building resilient transmission networks and optimising electricity demand allocation in real-time when generation or transmission falls short.

“Pakistan's susceptibility to climate change, notably the rising frequency of floods, underscores our commitment. Through our partnership with NTDC, we intend to extend our support to related decision-support needs."

Big step

Ali Zain Banatwala, Deputy Managing Director of System Operation at NTDC, hailed the initiative as a turning point for the company’s modelling and simulation capabilities.

He said: “This project is a big step in strengthening our abilities in modelling and planning. While we have previously utilised generic tools, their inability to cater to Pakistan's specific needs has prompted this project.

“Partnering with Strathclyde marks the start of a journey where advanced research meets our country’s needs. Our modelling and simulation need span operational and planning timescales, extending not only to operational optimisation but also informing policy and regulation—a burgeoning area in Pakistan.

“Using these innovative tools, NTDC is aiming to build a strong system for deciding where to invest in Pakistan's energy future. This milestone has the potential to make Pakistan's energy system better, ensuring a brighter and more sustainable future.”