Speakers for removing bottleneck to harness hydropower, RE potential in country

ISLAMABAD  -  Speakers at 3rd International Hydropower Conference while terming the hydropower and renewable energy (RE) crucial for sustainable future of the country on Wednesday stressed the need to remove bottleneck in harnessing the hydropower and RE potential for provision of affordable electricity to the people and industry.

The third International Hy­dropower conference themed “Hydropower: A Renewable Energy Source for a Sustain­able Future” was organized by the Energy Update in collaboration with Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and International Hy­dropower Association (IHA). They were of the view that RE and Hydropower were the future of the country but there was a dire need for con­sistency of government poli­cies to exploit these areas for the benefit of the people.

Speaking on the occasion, Caretaker Minister for Power Muhammad Ali lauded the energy update for organizing the conference and said that it would help us to improve the policy framework in the energy sector. He said enhancing RE and hydropower share in en­ergy mix was the government top priority as it was the only way to reduce the power tariff besides provision of affordable energy to the people. Currently, the share of hydel and RE in to­tal energy mix stood at 31 per cent adding that the govern­ment has embarked on ambi­tious plan to enhance it to 61 per cent by 2030, he said.

He said Pakistan has tre­mendous potential of wind, so­lar, and hydropower. We could alone generate around 64,000 megawatts (MW) from hydel and only tapped 11,000 MW so far. Hydropower considered cheapest source of electricity in the world, he said. He said hydropower projects could also generate employment op­portunities. He said work on 4200 MW Dasu hydropower, 800 MW Mohmand dam and 4500 MW Diamer Basha dam was being carried out. Howev­er, financing was a big issue for such mega projects, he added. The minister said Pakistan has 175 billion tons of Thar coal reserves which could gener­ate electricity for decades. On energy conservation side, the minister said that some 3000-4000 MW could be saved only through energy efficient fans across the country. A sum of $ 1 billion could be saved annu­ally through energy conserva­tion, he said. Earlier, Managing Director Private Power In­frastructure Board (PPIB) Dr Shahjan Mirza said hydropow­er projects were equally benefi­cial for environment and econ­omy. Hydropower plants were the cheapest sources of green and clean energy, he added.

He said the government was making better policies for pro­motion of hydropower in the country. The provinces should also come forward in hydro­power sector, he added. He said that PPIB has commissioned four projects having 1100 MW capacity so far. However, he said it was not an easy task to attract private investors for hydropower projects as it re­quired huge financing and long time-period for completion. He said the government has also set target of 60 per cent of RE and hydel share by 2030 and it would attract around $ 100 billion investment. We have to facilitate the private inves­tors in this sector, he added. Speaking on the occasion, Chief Executive Officer Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organiza­tion (PEDO) Engineer Muham­mad Naeem said that RE could turn the future of the country. RE was not only important for the industry and consumers but also for climate and economy of the country, he said.

He said Pakistan has huge hydro energy potential at North and RE particularly wind and solar at South. He said PEDO was playing its role to develop small hydro­power projects in remote and far flung areas of KPK. Some micro hydro projects have al­ready been supplying power supply to the near-by localities at very cheap rate, he added. He said more nine such proj­ects having 750 MW capacity were in pipelines. He stressed the need to focus more on RE projects besides removing hurdles in its way to ensure affordable electricity for the consumers and industries.

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