Exploring other options: Govt urged to announce alternative energy policy

Published: October 16, 2012
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Speakers say household demand should be shifted to renewable energy. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

Speakers say household demand should be shifted to renewable energy. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

ISLAMABAD: 

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.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Caramelized_Onion
    Oct 16, 2012 - 5:44AM

    In a country with enough fossil fuels to provide energy to not the whole country but nearby countries as well, talk of renewable energy is hard to understand. We cannot sweep the real problems under the carpet as they will resurface. These problems are inefficiency and corruption in implementing a simple energy generation project using coal and gas, of which the country has plenty of.

    Pakistanis should stop looking for silver bullet solutions to problems that are our own making. Renewable energy cannot be used as ‘Base Power’, as it is highly unreliable. It is only used to ‘top up’ the base power in peak demand hours. Start with the real problem first, that we are unable to use our resources for energy conversion due simply to bad project management practices.

    I don’t want to see billions being wasted again in search of castles in the clouds that will offer no relief, like the RPPs.

    If an official from the energy sector is reading this; you need to hire a team of good honest project managers from either Pakistan or abroad, and give them the contract for a new ‘design-build’ turnkey Co-Gen Plant, and sit back and watch it unfold, and learn a thing or two from it. Stop wasting money on ridiculous ideas that have not worked anywhere else in the world.

    -from a Power Systems Engineer

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  • Zietgiest
    Oct 16, 2012 - 7:17AM

    Now here is an interesting opportunity to make more money – new projects, consultants, feasibility, financiers, contracts etc.etc. ad infinitum…

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  • Oct 16, 2012 - 8:48AM

    Haaahh! This will take another fifty years.
    After all, they have to wake up, yawn, smoke, take tea, -art, shave, shower, dress, walk to the car, have the door opened, driven, get the papers translated, shake hands very warmly, smile, wink and attend dinners with the investors, give serious flim flam talk to the newspapers and public and then go to sleep.
    More is to follow but this will take up the entire newspaper. Salams

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  • Maher
    Oct 16, 2012 - 9:53AM

    @ Zietgiest.. You forgot Rental projects my friend :)

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  • Baba Ji
    Oct 16, 2012 - 9:55AM

    wow !!! new policy, new contracts, new frauds, NO energy !!!!

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  • gp65
    Oct 16, 2012 - 9:57AM

    Renewable energy is still extremely expensive. It maybe commercially viable in the next 10 years, so investments today are justified but a strategy based on renewable energy being the primary source of residential energy is not grounded in reality.

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  • gp65
    Oct 16, 2012 - 9:58AM

    @Caramelized_Onion: One of the few times that I agree with you a 100%

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  • TahirPaniala
    Oct 16, 2012 - 10:16AM

    Hahaha. They realize it now in the end of 5 year term.Recommend

  • Maher
    Oct 16, 2012 - 11:30AM

    @ Zietgiest You forgot Rental projects my friends :)

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  • Nishant
    Oct 16, 2012 - 7:34PM

    Who …What ?
    There is a video on youtube where Javed Chaudhary challanged these alternative energy agencies of Pakistan to provide just the “Blue Zone” of Islamabad with solar or wind power.

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  • Oct 19, 2012 - 1:40PM

    Gas is a great way to go!

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