According to the federal minister for planning and development, Vision 2025 lays down tremendous emphasis on developing renewable energy potential to help overcome the power crisis.
Ahsan Iqbal was speaking at a seminar on renewable energy at a local hotel on Wednesday, but in the very next sentence he admitted that the government did not have a clue how to go about it. “What we need now is a realistic, efficient and implementable action plan.”
He said power generation was a top priority of the current government. “The energy crisis has two dimensions, massive shortage of supply as well as the extraordinary challenge in arriving at the right energy mix in the country.” About 22,000 megawatt (MW) electricity will be added to the national grid in the next seven years but the prevailing energy crises will not end soon, he added.
“The government is working to increase supply by enhancing capacity and through new infrastructure projects. Addressing this problem will take several years.” At the same time, the government is striving to ensure that its policies help achieve a sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy mix.
Iqbal said that it was noteworthy that in the next fiscal year, out of Rs525 billion allocated for development schemes, over Rs200 billion are earmarked for the power sector. The minister added that the government was taking steps to address power thefts and line losses.
WWEA Secretary General Stefan Gsänger highlighted Pakistan’s wind energy potential and suggested that governments around the world prioritise power generation through renewable energy sources as they offer the cheapest option for energy production in future.
Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) Chief Executive Officer Asjad Ali noted that in the past several interest groups lobbied against alternative sources of energy. He said as the focal point for renewable energy projects in Pakistan, AEDB was working on several infrastructure projects to achieve 2,500 MW power generation by 2018. He predicted that in the next two decades the matrix of energy would change in favour of renewable energy.
The speakers emphasised on the need to upgrade grid infrastructure. While there are institutional, financial and coordination challenges, these challenges are not unique to Pakistan. The key to all these challenges is that the government takes all stakeholders on board for a successful action plan.
World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) research and policy analyst Sohaib Malik presented the findings of a research study according to which AEDB’s Renewable Energy Policy of 2006 was the most comprehensive policy amongst developing countries. “However, the excellent targets set by successive governments haven’t been met. Investors believe that lack of coordination between various governmental agencies is a major barrier.”
The event was organised by WWEA , AEDB and Heinrich Boll Stiftung Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2014.
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