In 2022, Pakistan’s electricity consumption per person was well below the global average of 412 watts, with a total of just over 75 watts per person. The majority of this came from fossil energy, with approximately 57% of the total. This included over a third from gas and a bit less than one tenth from coal. The remaining 43% fell under low-carbon energy, which included hydropower accounting for almost a quarter, while nuclear and wind energy were much less significant contributors. The low levels of electricity consumption indicate a possible lack of infrastructure development, leading to insufficient access to power in many areas, and a high reliance on fossil fuel energy resources which poses environmental challenges including air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, Pakistan’s electricity consumption also involves a small component of net imports, accounting for just under 0.34% of the total electricity consumption.
One way Pakistan could increase its low-carbon energy generation is by expanding its existing nuclear power plants, taking a cue from countries such as South Korea and Slovakia. Their successful use of nuclear energy, generating 371 and 333 watts per person respectively, demonstrates the potential for this source of low-carbon energy. Moreover, despite the geographical and climatic differences, Pakistan could take inspiration from countries such as Denmark and Ireland, which effectively harnessed wind energy to generate 369 and 258 watts per person. Furthermore, considering Pakistan's abundant sunlight, it might look into developing solar energy facilities, akin to Australia, which generates 147 watts per person from solar.
The history of low-carbon electricity supply in Pakistan is largely dominated by development in hydropower and nuclear. In the late 1980s and early 90s, there was a gradual increase in hydropower, as evident by the hike in energy generated from it. However, the beginning of the new millennium marked a challenging period for hydroelectricity, as it went through several fluctuations with alternations between periods of growth and decline. The largest drop was in the year 2017, with a decrease of 4.2 TWh. Despite this, hydropower remained a significant part of Pakistan's energy mix. Meanwhile, nuclear energy entered Pakistan's low-carbon electricity scene in the late 2010s and its rise has been much more steady, experiencing continuous growth from 2017, without any decline up until the present year. This includes a significant increase in 2022 by 6.7 TWh, indicating a promising future for nuclear energy in Pakistan’s low-carbon energy mix.