ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) did not clear the long-term Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) 2021-2030 on Monday after provinces, particularly Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, raised concerns that Power Division had not considered their priority projects before moving the case to the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
Planning Minister Asad Umar had called a single-point agenda meeting of the CCoE and invited provincial energy ministers to finalise a draft plan before formally seeking its approval from the CCI within two weeks.
The stakeholders were informed that the CCI also has to clear the matter by first week of September given the urgency relating to $800 million loan programmes (including one for energy sector) which was coming up for approval by the Board of Directors of the World Bank.
After listening to the objections raised by the provinces, Mr Umar directed Secretary Power Division and the provincial representatives to hold two or three back-to-back meetings on the subject within this week to address as many issues as possible so that a consolidated position could be finalised in another CCoE meeting on Thursday this week.
Asad asks power division, provinces to thrash out differences
Provincial ministers from Balochistan and Sindh participated the meeting via video link while KP Finance Minister Taimoor Jhagra was physically present. He told the meeting that certain matters relating to small hydropower projects and transmission lines had to be settled first because clarity was missing from the draft prepared by the Power Division.
On June 29, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) had returned unapproved the IGCEP to the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) which had prepared the long-term project planning document after it was informed that CCI had decided on June 21 that “the IGCEP assumptions shall be approved by the CCI”.
Based on the CCI decision, Nepra had said that IGCEP submitted to it for approval could not be considered by it. Nevertheless, Nepra had put on record that during prolonged public hearings on the IGCEP, various stakeholders including provinces and the industry had highlighted five areas. It directed the NTDC to present these five areas before the CCI for its consideration.
The NTDC had been asked to present projects having achieved financial close or secured financing arrangements, projects already under construction, projects having PC-I documents approved at relevant forum of the federal and provincial levels, projects already having generation licence and tariff approved by the Nepra and strategic projects under the G2G initiatives.
The NTDC had been advised that revised IGCEP in light of the assumptions as approved by the CCI be re-submitted to Nepra for formal approval within in 30 days of the council’s clearance of the assumptions.
Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh told Mr Umar that his province did not have any objection over any project proposed by any other province. However, the Sindh government was not being meaningfully engaged over its projects and reservation over key assumptions, he added. The provincial energy minister said it appeared the federal government did not appreciate the difficulties of the Sindh government as the Power Division had a tendency not fulfilling commitments which was creating misunderstandings.
The source said Mr Shaikh underlined that his province did not have any objection over any project proposed by any other province but any change in the policies approved by the CCI could only be changed by the council and no sub-ordinate or lower forum.
He said the Category-III wind power projects were not being cleared and Oracle Thar Coal project was also not being included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said solar projects in Sindh had been stalled for about four years while federal government’s commitments regarding Alternative and Renewable Energy (ARE) Policy were not being honoured.
The source added the Power Division had consultative sessions on IGCEP 2021-30 but matters remained unresolved. Three provinces, other than Punjab, have been demanding that all provincial ARE projects having generation licence and tariff already given by Nepra should be included in the IGCEP. The list includes some 12 renewable energy wind and solar projects of about 600MW.
Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2021