‘Renewable energy potential untapped in Balochistan’

Speakers call for better coordination to usher in sustainable development in province

News Desk May 20, 2021
Renewable Energy. Photo File

Balochistan Chief Economist Planning and Development Ghaus Bakhash Marri said that the lack of coordination between various government departments is one of the major challenges for brining investment in renewable energy projects in Balochistan.

He said this at a session entitled ‘Roadmap for Sustainable Development of Balochistan: Aligning development priorities with Clean Energy Transition pathways,’ held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Wednesday. He emphasised that ease of doing business must be taken care of to tap the real potential of investment.

There is a huge potential of wind energy in the coastal belt and solar energy in the entire province, however, the lack of transmission infrastructure and rural electrification is a bottleneck in the development and thus, micro grid based rural electrification with collaborative efforts of the public and private stakeholders needs to be explored, he stressed.

Mr Tauha Hassan Sidiqqui, while representing the Balochistan Board of Investment, highlighted the province’s potential of energy, particularly in terms of investment in the renewable energy sector and said that a huge potential of wind corridor that starts from Gwadar and goes up to Makran region still remains untapped.

The government’s strategy is to aim for inviting investors in different fields and our focus on energy investment aims to uplift Balochistan both in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) and public-private partnership, he stated.

Energy sector expert Dr Nadia Farooq informed the participants that 30 per cent of the world energy is expected to be of solar and wind in the near future. She said that the Asian Development Bank’s project of clean energy in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has supported the remote rural population.

Dr Nadia highlighted that Balochistan’s capacity in renewable energy sector is extremely high, however, transmission mechanism needs to be addressed on priority basis by the Federal and Provincial governments.

Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS)’s Economics Professor Dr Abdul Salam Lodhi, while explaining the economic potential of the province in terms of mining, agriculture, tourism, and international trade, said that the wind corridors in Noshki, Kharan and Killa Saifullah are ideal locations to explore wind energy.

Bridge Factor Director Ashruff Hasan Rana emphasised on the need for consistency of policy and said that the situation of infrastructure and security needs to be improved in the province. Likewise, Gwadar should be utilised as an opportunity along with a strong focus on grid upgradation, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2021.

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