Speakers at a conference on Alternative and Renewable Energy (ARE) have stressed that the government announce a new power generation policy focusing on alternative energy to ease the burden of the household sector on the national grid in the coming years.
“The government should shift 60% of the household sector power load to alternative energy in the next couple of years. Even if a 40% shift is achieved, the demand for about 4,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity could be eased on the national grid,” said speakers and participants in the conference which concluded on October 15.
The conference was titled “Towards an Energy Secure Pakistan” and held by the Renewable Energy Association of Pakistan (REAP), the Tawanai program of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), and the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB). During the conference, several recommendations with regard to achieving energy security were made for the government, financial institutions, business and industry, as well as the common man.
Speakers and participants strongly recommended a new policy with an emphasis on power generation through energy technologies which use renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, mini hydel, biomass and geo-thermal energy. They also demanded passage of a law for distributed generation and use of ARE systems for lightening up public places, offices, hospitals, schools, etc; and promotion of energy conservation and efficiency through the use of ARE.
They also supported proposals calling for the promotion of a manufacturing base in Pakistan for ARE technologies, the standardisation of ARE technologies, certification of products to discourage substandard equipment, and financial incentives for the promotion of ARE.
Power generation through mini- and micro-hydel systems on canals was also strongly recommended, as such projects can be installed in large numbers across the country at various seasonal and regular canals in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and on streams and rivers in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, to provide power to surrounding areas and villages in off/on grid configurations.
Chief guest lieutenant general (retired) Tariq Majeed said that the country was facing energy shortages and renewable energy would help overcome the crisis. “The private sector should be encouraged to make investments in the renewable energy sector,” he said, adding that investment by the private sector would also create jobs and overcome unemployment.
REAP President Asif Jah said that the masses should be made aware of the applications of renewable energy devices.“We can tackle the energy crisis in two years by using renewable energy appliances,” he said. “The government should approve a viable policy in this regard.” He said that the active involvement of the banking sector was essential in ensuring financing for the renewable energy sector, and that a one-window operation should be initiated to implement the plan.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2012.