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ISLAMABAD: The Power Division has planned to establish a renewable energy research institute to study the existing potential of alternative energy in the country, Power Minister Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari said on Friday.

He informed a delegation of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) that the institute will also propose policy matters to the government in the field of alternative energy.

The delegation was led by World Bank Vice-President for South Asia Annettee Dixon and IFC Vice-President for the region Snezana Stojanovic.

The minister also invited the two organisations for their assistance in the establishment of the said institute. The power division is also working on indigenous resource mobilisation for the establishment and sustainability of the proposed centre.

Mr Leghari said that the government has decided to call competitive bidding to generate power from renewable energy resources.

He underscored the need for investment in the power distribution sector to modernise the existing infrastructure and recommended World Bank and IFC to consider investing in laying the ABC cables in the distribution network which will greatly help in reducing the line losses and theft.

He informed that with the finalisation of amendments in National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s act is in the upper house of the parliament, the power sector will become more open for the investors, making electricity a tradable commodity at the distribution level. The power division is already working on a concept of “wheeling” with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to that end, he added.

Ms Snezana Stojanovic expressed IFC’s interest in tapping the renewable resources of wind and solar power generation in Balochistan and in this regard an IFC team will coordinate with the power division and all other stakeholders.

The organisation is also keen to help explore renewable sources in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and considering investing in the improvement of distribution network. The two sides will soon hold a roundtable to discuss further discuss such possibilities.

During the meeting, the World Bank appreciated the reforms already undertaken by the government in power sector.

Ms Annette Dixon also expressed her organisation’s willingness in supporting the power division in the formulation of a new energy policy and national electricity plan as well as the modernisation of transmission lines.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2018