THE World Bank has approved $450 million grant for Pakistan that will help the country reduce dependence on expensive and inexhaustible fossil fuels and reserves. This will eventually enable Pakistan to overcome the rising greenhouse emissions.
However, such assistance is futile without making policy shift in the country’s energy mix, which means that instead of restricting the aid to just a few energy projects, Pakistan should utilise this opportunity to encourage alternative and renewable energy schemes.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the World Bank has given consent for hydro-power and solar-power plants and this is a point in favour of Pakistan. This will back Pakistan’s goal to become a low-carbon emitting and green country by the end of 2030.
Not only Pakistan will join the environment-friendly states, its renewable energy policies will contribute towards the economic and social uplift of the communities residing near solar-power and hydro-power plants.
In other words, the government can strategically engage with the World Bank support on renewable energy resources by revitalising infrastructure, encouraging tourism and creating new job opportunities for fresh engineers and graduates, who are in dire need of work in time of a crippling pandemic.
Unfortunately, in the last several decades, our energy mix has focussed on conventional energy sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas. As a result, the policymakers are unaware or are out of touch with the new developments in energy production that focus on green resources as they are going to change the global scenario in the years to come.
A report by an Australian organisation recently highlighted that Pakistan was slow to shift focus on renewable energy resources, such as wind and sunlight, which are abundant and are among the cheapest sources of power generation that will be even cheaper in the 2030s and 2040s.
Therefore, unless we create a diversion in our conventional energy mix, the goal of affordability and sustainability of power resources will not be met, leading to worsening energy crisis in the future.
Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2020