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October 12, 2020

‘Potential to produce 10 gigawatts enough to make Sindh self-sufficient’


October 12, 2020

Solar power is the way forward for Pakistan to safeguard its energy security and to lower the basket price of electricity for the commodity’s consumers in the country.

This was stated by Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) CEO Dr Rana Abdul Jabbar Khan in his keynote address during the ‘1st Virtual Conference on Solarisation of Pakistan’ that was organised by the Energy Update magazine.

Dr Khan said Pakistan should take considerable advantage of its presence in one of the best solar zones in the world. He said solar energy has lately become the cheapest source of energy among the low-cost options to generate electricity due to the steep decline in solar power rates.

He said the AEDB would fully support the full exploitation of the solar power potential of the country so that by the year 2030, Pakistan would be generating up to 30 per cent of its electricity on the basis of clean sources of energy.

He also said the AEDB has been conducting solar resource mapping of Pakistan with the support of the World Bank, for which purpose nine solar stations have been established in different areas.

He further said the AEDB has also been adopting the required measures to introduce the regime of competitive bidding for the upcoming alternative energy projects in the country. Dr Khan said the AEDB is fully committed to promoting all clean resources of energy to pursue the new alternative energy policy of the country.

He said solar power projects would also be introduced for the faraway, off-grid areas of the country. He added that the AEDB has also been promoting net-metering system to allow individual consumers to utilise wind and solar energy.

Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Housing Task Force, emphasised the need of using superior quality equipment to generate solar electricity for the long-term benefit of the energy sector.

Rizvi said solar equipment of superior quality can last up to 40 years for maximum benefit of the energy system. He said that quite soon export-oriented industries would have to install alternative energy projects because their products manufactured through conventional sources of energy would not be accepted by developed countries. He also said India has done much homework to switch its industries to the option of clean resources of energy. He added that the utilisation of clean energy resources has a massive impact on the environment and the carbon footprint of the country.

Sindh Solar Energy Project Director Mehfooz Qazi said the provincial government has been working on a $100 million project to extensively promote the use of solar energy across Sindh.

Qazi said Sindh has the potential to generate up to 10 gigawatts of electricity on the basis of solar power, adding that such clean source of energy is enough to make the province self-sufficient in its electricity needs.

He said the project initiated with the support of the World Bank envisaged the setting up of solar parks, utilisation of the rooftops of government buildings for installing solar projects, and solar energy solutions for off-grid areas. He hoped that the new alternative energy policy of the government would be helpful in implementing the solar project assisted by the World Bank in Sindh.

Senior energy consultant Faiz Bhutta said commercial banks in the country should be encouraged to launch a loan facility for the upcoming clean energy projects.

Amin M Lakhani, director of the Clean Energy Project under the United States Agency for International Development’s Sustainable Energy for Pakistan project, said the government would ensure financial closure of the upcoming renewable energy projects on an urgent basis so that more clean electricity is available for the national grid.

Muhammad Ali Khan, power minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, said the government of Gilgit-Baltistan has launched the initial study to assess the wind and solar power potential of the area.

Khan said it is highly unfortunate that even though GB has the potential of generating up to 55,000 megawatts of electricity on the basis of its hydro resource, the region has been facing serious challenges in fulfilling its energy needs.

He said the GB region requires a clear-cut power policy like the other parts of the country so that it can tap its massive hydro resource not just for its own needs but also for the rest of Pakistan.

Naeem Qureshi, chairman of the organising committee of the conference, said Energy Update would continue to host more such round-table sessions to assemble energy experts from all over the country for the promotion of renewable energy resources.