Renewable energy

12 Sep 2020

Email

PAKISTAN has the potential to not only use 100 per cent renewable energy but also supply 100pc renewable energy to other nations. With an over 60,000 MW hydro dam potential, 5,000MW hydro run-of-river, 50,000 MW wind and 80,000 MW solar power generation potential, we should be attracting all kinds of green funds for these projects.

But in the last 75 years, we have increased furnace oil power, installed a complete infrastructure for RLNG power, increased nuclear power and have gone ahead with imported coal power plants while ignoring renewable energy.

The current government has passed the renewable energy policy 2019 through parliament, without including hydro power in renewables. But even then the new policy has never been printed in the official gazette of Pakistan till date.

The government still has a chance by changing its policy. It should go for a target of 100pc renewable energy mix in 10 years.

Large hydro projects, which can take decades to build and fill up, will be used to offset the current thermal power plants systematically, while only renewables will be used for new capacity under new policy.

Fixed ‘wheeling’ charges should be introduced along with a fixed line loss cost for the sale of energy by power producers to large consumers like housing societies, industries, whole villages, etc. A low cost, quick and easy process for issuing licences for renewables should be introduced for two years. A bank guarantee can be kept by the government which should only be returned if the licensee starts the project in one year.

There should be an easy process with a fixed timeline for land allocation and connection to the national grid for renewables. The government should also give a fast track priority and buy-back guarantee for projects that supply to areas without a national grid connection.

Multiple locations and multiple licences to a single company should be issued for small-scale renewables to make them more cost effective and bankable projects. The licences of companies that have not started work should be cancelled or sold to new potential bidders.

Such measures will increase renewable energy, increase construction, reduce electricity costs, etc. But, obviously, such a policy will be bitterly opposed by thermal power, RLNG, oil companies and automobile manufacturers.

Zeeshan Baseer

Peshawar

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2020