Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Former Finance Minister, criticized insufficient financial cooperation extended by leading greenhouse gas emitters to climate change vulnerable countries and said “climate change mitigation and adaptation annually requires 7-14 Billion which is well beyond Pakistan’s financial constraints”. She was speaking at the first “Annual State of Renewables Conference 2022” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with Unilever here on Thursday. She stressed on need to decarbonize energy generation and reforming policies to address high import dependence, removing low tariff and subsidies on energy supply to power plants and industries to reduce financial and environmental implications.
Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, called public and private sector and civil society organizations to collaborate for concerted actions for climate change mitigation. He stressed on pacing up transition to renewable energy in Pakistan to address energy crisis and expensive import-based energy generation. He further said that devastating floods due to unprecedent monsoon in Pakistan are manifestation of climate change and renewable energy mix can play crucial role in emission reduction to mitigate these disastrous impacts.
Abu Bakar Ahmed, Secretary, Energy Department, Government of Sindh briefed the audience about various initiatives being taken including solarization of public buildings including schools, hospital and 225 basic health clinic, project to provide 200,000 solar home systems in 10 low energy access districts, and capacity building activities for domestic production of technology. He also said that waste to energy project is under deliberation for Karachi which will be later expanded to rest of Sindh.
Dr. Sebastian Paust, Counsellor Head of Development Cooperation Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany informed the participants that Germany’s journey on climate change mitigation and energy transformation started in 1990’s based on just transition. He informed that to support Pakistan’s renewable energy transition Germany has provided 350 million euros for 16 projects and 30 million euros for technical co-operation in areas of energy transition, efficiency and electric vehicles.
Dr. Ute Collier, Deputy Director, Knowledge, Policy, and Finance Centre, International Renewable Energy Agenda (IRENA) said that half of emission reduction targets in Paris Agreement can be achieved through energy conservation and scaling up renewable energy. She pointed out that in Pakistan half of the population lacks access to clean cooking energy while quarter has no access to electricity which reinstates the necessity of clean renewable energy transition.
Shah Jahan Mirza, CEO, Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) informed that by 2030, AEDB aims to increase renewable energy share to 60% with 90% of it being indigenous to reduce pressure on foreign exchange reserves. He further said that AEDB is in process of launching large solar power project with capacity of 2400 MW with the government providing 3 sites to private power companies. Elaborating various projects and policies being deliberated he said solarization of diesel-based tube wells, waiving off import duty and sales tax on solar technology, introducing single line tariffs for competitive bidding to increase renewable energy generation.
Naz Khan, Chief Strategic Officer, K-Electric 50% increase in electricity price due to fuel mix dominated by thermal energy and import intensive generation which is much higher than much of the world. She said 257GW renewable energy was added globally in 2021 and US $55 Billion is projected for 2022 as saving due to this addition and Pakistan can increase its foreign exchange reserve status by exploiting this. She informed that K- Electric plans to add 1200MW in next 7-8 years from renewable energy though equity with private sector and invest its own finances which will save Forex US$ 8-10 Billion. In June 2022, 637MW generated and 519 MW has been commissioned on net metering of domestic consumers. She suggested incentivizing through cost-reflective tariffs, competitive bidding, to attract investment especially green financing through products and scaling up net metering of solar households.
Yusuf Siddiqui, CEO, Engro Energy Pvt. Ltd. informed that Engro Energy plans to add 500MW renewable energy through Jhimpir power project by 2024 which will be scaled upto 1GW. He advocated liberalization of power sector and said that private power companies should be allowed to work outside government’s ambit, take responsibility of risks and sell directly to consumers. He informed that this is a successful and cost-effective international model and can potentially bridge investment and power demand.
Ehsan Malik, CEO, Pakistan Business Council (PBC) highlighted that PBC adopted make in Pakistan policy to address high import crisis. Criticizing low tariffs on fossil fuel-based energy will slow transition to renewables especially solarization by domestic consumers. He suggested that government must reform energy policies and improve distributions system, address issues on transmission losses and rumors on net metering of domestic consumers and run awareness campaigns through media platforms.
Explaining Pakistan’s renewable energy generation potential, Dr Hina Aslam Research Fellow, SDPI informed that 0.07% solar potential is enough to meet Pakistan’s energy demand. She informed that Sindh and Balochistan can produce 340GW wind and suggested recycling 30M mt municipal solid waste annually should be exploited to produce energy from waste. She said that like rest of the world, Pakistan experience 3.25% increase in renewable energy in 2021 and net FDI in power sector in 2021 was US$911.7 million, with much room for more and US$101 Billion target has been set by 2030. She suggested improving coordination between national-subnational entities, indigenous production to lower costs and smoothing out regulatory procedures to catalyze this transition.
Engr. Abdul Jabbar Memon, Chief Executive, Qaim Group of Companies and Member, BOG, SDPI in his closing remarks stressed efficiency by phasing out inefficient power plants. He suggested clubbing and revamping NEPRA and OGRA to make smoother transition to renewable energy.