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Use of renewable resources – best to defeat energy catastrophe

Germany’s model will help Pakistan get clean, affordable and sustainable power supply

Pakistan and Germany signed a Memorandum of understanding for establishing Pakistan German Renewable Energy Forum (PGREF). The newly established renewable forum would fortify Pakistan’s efforts to capitalize available potential of clean and green energy. This forum would serve as a hub for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency business networking, customer outreach and business development in Pakistan and Germany. The available potential in the country and global developments in the sector will definitely play a vital role in ensuring sustainable, clean, affordable and much reliant resource of energy to the consumers.

Since, Germany is one of those developed countries that have exploited renewable power at a large scale, its experience, expertise and developments made in this sector are of particular interest for Pakistan.

The government would take every possible step to avail benefit of the clean, affordable, reliable and sustainable renewable power resources of the country.

Renewable energy is the most promising option to meet the increasing energy demand of the country without damaging economic conditions of the country and at the same time reducing carbon emissions that in turn result in managing global climate changes.

Pakistan’s renewable energy production has been increased to 1568 MWs and identification of five more wind corridors in Balochistan could add several more thousand megawatts of clean energy to the national grid.

The production would increase to 1870 MWs by the end of current year, said Chief Executive Officer of Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB). Wind power production through only one wind corridor in Sindh is 938 MWs and this power generation would increase to 1240 MWs later this year.

At present hydro-based power projects produced 38 percent power in the country. Germany and Pakistan had massive potential to collaborate with each other in the renewable energy sector as this collaboration would go a long way in resolving energy crisis of the latter on a sustainable basis.

The German energy model posed an excellent example for Pakistan for adoption as Germany swiftly overcome its power crisis by maximizing power generation through renewable means while gradually lessening reliance on conventional means of power generation that harm the environment.

Germany once faced similar challenge as currently being encountered by Pakistan in the energy sector. Germany was going to shut down all its nuclear power plants by the year 2022 under its drive to promote use of clean and renewable energy for power production. Pakistan should exploit the option of doing renewable energy projects of hybrid nature so to utilize maximum potential of wind and solar power available across the country.

The government had done a lot in power generation sector and now transmission capacity was being enhanced. Many investors were coming to invest in the energy sector of Pakistan. More business community should come forward and join hands to provide affordable and clean energy to the consumers.

Pakistan had lost around $ 100 billion on account of energy crisis. An amount of $ 2-3 billion could be saved annually by converting furnace power plants on RLNG.


Future solar projects

Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) has issued seven Letter of Support (LOS) and 17 Letter of Intent (LOI) for various solar projects which will generate total 556.52 MW electricity.

Seven projects were in process of achieving Financial Closing and 72.52 MW electricity to the system by December 2017 and March 2018. 17 solar power projects of 484 MW were at different stages of development and would be completed by 2018-19.

Similarly, four solar projects of 400 MW capacities have already been operational. It is also pertinent to mention here that in a landmark decision the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had already approved the upfront tariff and adjustments/indexations for solar power generation for delivery of electricity to the power purchaser based on solar PV power plants.

The solar energy is clean, environment-friendly and renewable and also provides benefit of carbon credits. The overall cost of project and generation cost is very much competitive. The sources said the per MW cost of solar power although higher in the beginning but subsequent decline in cost makes it financially viable solution in the medium term. Its installation was also easy and quick and could play an important role for overcoming energy crisis, they said. Low operation and maintenance cost of solar power project was an added advantage. It would help reduce reliance on external imports of fossil fuel, they said.

The sources said, in Pakistan, connecting far off villages to the national grid would be very costly, thus giving each house a solar panel would be cost efficient and would save investment in transmission lines and transmission losses. Solar power would facilitate the economy and industry of Pakistan due to its unique benefits and competitiveness.

Many countries US, Germany, Australia, Brazil, UK, Japan, India, China and Thailand were now generating electricity in bulk through solar system, they said. It is also worth mentioning that Pakistan receives one of the best solar irradiation in the world and has a potential to generate over 2.324 million megawatts electricity per annum through solar thermal and photovoltaic systems but this potential is yet to be tapped.

Solar irradiation in Pakistan and India stand at 1,900 (kWh/m2), against China’s 1,500 and Germany’s 1,200.

Renewable energy institute

Pakistan’s Energy Ministry is planning to establish a renewable energy institute with an aim to conduct research, study existing potential and propose policy measures for government’s consideration.

In order to tap such resources and pass on due benefits to consumers, the government had decided to hold competitive biddings for clean energy generation in the future. The case for Pakistan to ramp up its renewable energy generation

Assistance of the World Bank and IFC for establishing the renewable energy institute has been sought. The Power Division was also working on domestic resource mobilization for setting up the institute. There is the need for investment in power distribution in order to modernize the existing infrastructure.

In this regard, the World Bank and IFC requested to consider pouring investment into laying ABC power cables for the distribution network, which would greatly help in reducing line losses and controlling theft.

The delegation proposed amendments to the Nepra Act were in the upper house of parliament and with their finalization the power sector would be more open for the investors. The Power Division was already working on the concept of ‘wheeling’ with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to make electricity a tradable commodity.

The IFC vice-president expressed interest in tapping the renewable energy resources – wind and solar – in Balochistan and its teams would coordinate with the Power Division and all other stakeholders in that regard. The IFC official was also keen on assisting Pakistan’s power sector in tapping the renewable energy sources in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

IFC expressed the desire to invest in the improvement of distribution network and it was agreed that both sides would soon hold roundtable discussions to exchange views on the possibility of investment.

Praising the reforms undertaken by Pakistan, the World Bank vice-president expressed interest in assisting the Power Division in formulating a new energy policy and national electricity plan. The bank would continue to support the power sector in the modernization of transmission lines.

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