3E crisis demands robust investment in renewable energy sector: Experts

SDPI organises panel discussion on ‘Addressing the Economic, Energy, and Environment Crisis: Innovation and Technology Driven Approach’

ISLAMABAD     -    Experts in a panel discussion on Sunday were unanimous in their views that transition to clean energy may be costly but the current Economic, Energy and Environment (3E) crises demand a robust investment in the renewable energy sector.

This was the crux of a panel discussion on ‘Addressing the Economic, Energy, and Environment (3Es) Crises: Innovation and Technology Driven Approach’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here.

The experts called for innovation, robust investment, and real-time data driven decision-making for addressing the energy and economic woes of Pakistan. Huge investment, digitalisation a must for clean energy transition, they added.

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at K-Electric, Sadia Dada stressed the need for more investments in the power sector to resolve the challenges associated with it so that the 3E crises might be overcome. “Since its privatisation, KE has doubled its customer base from 1.8 million to 3.4 million; increased its energy supplies from 2200MW to 3380MW, and has reduced its transmission and distribution (T&D) losses from 34.2% to 15.3%, which surpasses the target set by NEPRA for the year.” She said all these achievements were possible due to targeted investments of Rs474 billion - 6 times more than their profits, made by the company across its value chain since privatisation.

Amer Zia, Chief Distribution Officer, K-Electric, said that unless access to tertiary energy sources is increased, the efficiency of primary and secondary energy sources must be focused to meet the increasing energy demand. He stressed on enhancing data quality so that robust, efficient and intelligent decisions can be taken. He said that K-Electric has brought various innovative technologies like smart metering, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), while advanced distribution management systems are also in the pipeline.

Programme Officer Renewables First, Muhammad Basit Ghauri, stressed on Demand-side Management through innovation to efficiently manage the energy peak load and strengthen linkages between academia and industry to support innovations driven by industry demand.

Dr Khalid Waleed, SDPI Research Consultant, said that our energy choices are coming at the cost of economy and environment while innovative and technological solutions are at the heart of the triple E crisis. He suggested that Pakistan should negotiate for debt restricting in the form of debt to climate and nature swaps to build adaptation and resilience to climate change, support the transition to clean energy and reduce the national dependency on import fuels.

SDPI Senior Research Associate, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Zia, said in the backdrop of high inflation, increasing interest rates, high supply chain cost, and rising commodity prices, the competitiveness of RE projects against fossil fuels has been impacted. To maintain the cost competitiveness of new RE-based systems, he added, it is critical to derisk the investments, provide regulatory and policy support, improve credit worthiness for the RE developers and establish clean demand signals.

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