Islamabad (18 June, 2014): Sustainable power generation is a top priority of the current government of Pakistan to address the energy crisis in the long run. This was stated by Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning and Development at the International Wind Energy Conference organized by World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) and Heinrich Boll Stiftung Pakistan in Islamabad.
Prof. Iqbal said that the energy crisis in Pakistan has two dimensions where on one side there is massive shortage of supply to meet the needs as well as the extraordinary challenge to address the energy mix in the country. The government is working to meet the supply problem by bringing new capacities and through new infrastructure projects but addressing this problem will several years. At the same time, the government is striving to ensure that our policies help achieve sustainable, less expensive and environmentally friendly energy mix. The Government is taking steps to address issues such as power thefts and line losses in electricity. He said that it is noteworthy that in the next fiscal year, out of the allocated 525 billion rupees for development activities, over 200 billion rupees are for power sector. The government understands very well that we have to make conscious choices for long term development, keeping in mind challenges such as climate change. To further this agenda, vision 2025 lays down tremendous emphasis on developing Renewable Energy Potential, green as well as sustainable energy. What we need now is a realistic, efficient and implementable action plan.
Appreciating the initiative, Prof. Iqbal noted that the conference and project research on Wind Energy is a very relevant contribution to trigger policy dialogue on Pakistan’s energy challenge. Earlier opening the conference, Honorary Vice President of WWEA Air Marshal (retd.) Shahid Hamid said that Pakistan has great potential for power generation through wind energy which remains untapped. He regretted that during the last government’s tenure not much was done to further the renewable energy development in the country. The current government’s keen interest in Renewable Energy is a positive sign and will contribute in helping meet Pakistan’s energy needs. The Secretary General of WWEA Mr Stefan Gsanger highlighted Pakistan’s wind energy potential and also provided an analysis of related developments globally. He emphasized that governments around the world must prioritize power generation through renewable energy sources as they offer the cheapest option in the future for energy production. It is vital to invest today for the clean energy system of tomorrow.
Heinrich Boll Stiftung Officiating Country Representative Ms. Saima Jasam highlighted her organization’s work to support dialogue on renewable energy development in over thirty countries. CEO of AEDB Mr Asjad Ali noted that in the past several interest groups have lobbied against alternative sources of energy. He said that as the main focal point for renewable energy projects in Pakistan, AEDB is working on several infrastructure projects to achieve 2500 MV power generation by 2018. He predicted that in the next two decades the matrix of energy will change very much in favour of renewable energy and it is very important to realize this. We must choose the ‘Green energy reliant Pakistan’ vs ‘Smoke energy reliant Pakistan.’
WWEA Policy Analyst Mr Sohaib Malek presented the findings of the research study. He said that comparative research help appreciate that AEDB’s Renewable Energy Policy of 2006 was the most comprehensive policy amongst developing countries. However, practice hasn’t met the excellent targets set by successive governments. The investors believe that lack of coordination between various governmental agencies is a major barrier. They strongly emphasize on the need to upgrade grid infrastructure and call on the government to fulfill its power purchase agreements. 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 fulfills its commitments with the private sector and brings all stakeholders on board for a successful action plan.
The conference was the first of a series of consultations organized by WWEA, AEDB and HBS. The second consultation would take place in Bonn in October 2014 which will bring together energy experts from various international organizations to assess the outcomes.