Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif on Tuesday described the United States as a ‘valuable partner’ for Pakistan in the energy sector.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a two-day Pakistan-US conference on energy, he said the main focus of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government is to plug the energy deficit using sources that were climate friendly. The minister added that the government is undertaking all efforts to plug the deficit in order to boost industrial production.
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“About 3,000 to 4,000 megawatts are expected to be added to the national grid in the coming two years using solar and wind projects,” Asif told reporters. “Pakistan will also have up to 4,000MW generated through hydroelectric resources by 2019-2020,” he said.
Responding to a question, the minister said there have been substantial achievements in Pakistan’s hydroelectric sector.
“When the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took over, we were in a position where we he had to choose between the Dasu and Diamer-Bhasha projects,” he said. “Both projects are now on the active list because of the efforts of the government.”
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“Due to the intervention of the US and Wapda, the first phase of Dasu has been fully financed and interest in the Diamer-Bhasha dam has been generated,” he added.
Asif appreciated the valuable contribution of USAID – which organised the conference – to Pakistan’s energy sector and infrastructure initiatives. He also lauded Washington’s role in Pakistan’s economic development, saying that Premier Nawaz’s recent visit to the US further strengthened economic ties between the two countries.
Speaking at the conference earlier, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani also appreciated the role of the US government in helping develop Pakistan’s energy sector.
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The two-day conference is part of the US-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership, launched early this year, which seeks to advance energy sector reforms, improve Pakistan’s investment framework, and ultimately add 3,000MW of clean energy by 2019. Asif inaugurated the event jointly with Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
The conference has attracted US investors as well as experts and investors from Pakistan’s private sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2015.
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