Speakers stress need to harness hydropower potential for adding more clean energy

Speakers at the 2nd International Conference on Pakistan Hydropower Sector on Wednesday stressed the need to harness hydropower potential in the country for adding more clean and green electricity to the national grid system for sustainable economic growth.
They were of the view that Pakistan was blessed with huge hydel and renewable energy (RE) generating resources and it was a dire need to exploit all these resources for generating clean and green energy.
The conference was organized by Energy Update in collaboration with Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and International Hydropower Association (IHA) to discuss more opportunities to produce cheap and clean energy from the hydro sector and to foster renewable energy resources in mitigating climate change.
Appreciating the efforts of the organizers of the conference, Minister of State for Power Division Hashim Notezai said under the vision of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the incumbent government has a special focus to produce energy from indigenous resources, especially hydel, wind, and solar in order to minimize reliance of imported fuel.
Assuring full government support, he invited the investors to come forward and invest in clean and green energy. There were greater opportunities in the energy sector of Pakistan and the investors should take benefits from it, he said.
Managing Director PPIB Dr Shahjahan Mirza said that his organization has successfully added over 18,000 Megawatt (MW) of electricity to the national grid so far through Independent Power Producers (IPPs) which was around 50 per cent of total installed capacity. PPIB was providing one-window facilities to the investors and lenders in this regard, he said.
He went on to say that currently, the share of hydel was 25 per cent in the energy mix, followed by six per cent solar and 69 per cent of thermal. The government has now set a target of 62 per cent of energy through RE and hydel resources, he added.
Dr Mirza said the government also intended to increase the reliance on indigenous resources and wanted to induce more green energy in the system in the next 10 years. A concrete roadmap was devised in this regard and it was the first step that all projects were being awarded through competitive bidding.
However, he said private sector role in the hydropower sector at the global level was very limited. China’s private sector has made a huge investment in the hydropower sector of Pakistan and the recent 720 MW Karot hydropower project has been commissioned on June 29, 2022, with a cost of $ 1.2 billion under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Work was also being carried out on the 1100 MW Kohala hydropower project under CPEC, he added.
Shahjahan said that Pakistan has identified hydropower potential stood at 65,000 MW besides an additional 21,000 MW from Gilgit-Baltistan. However, he said GB has not yet connected through the national grid system of the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) and it would take around 5-6 years.
He said PPIB has attracted huge foreign investment from the UK, Korea, and other countries in energy-generating projects.
CEO Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (PEDO) Engineer Muhammad Naeem said dams and drains for mitigating climate issue was the theme of the conference. Pakistan was blessed with surplus water and energy resources, he added.
However, he said we could not plan to exploit the hydropower potential in the country in the last 75 years. No doubt climate change has some effect but we could mitigate its effects through proper planning, he added.
He said we could not cope with climate change unless we stored and conserved water. There was a dire need for more concentration on the planning of water storage and the development of hydropower projects.
Naeem said that PEDO under a public-private partnership has planned various small hydropower projects in remote areas having around 2,500 MW capacity which would start power supply in the next 10 years.
He said PEDO had completed the solarization of many mosques, schools, basic health units and over 6000 households so far in KPK.
Aamir Bashir CEO of Diamer Basha dam said that WAPDA has tapped around 9,400 MW hydel generation so far and work on more mega projects was being carried out to store 11 million acre-feet (MAF) water besides generating 16,000 MW of electricity.
He said WAPDA was building mega projects including Diamer Basha, Mohmand, and Dasu dams to enhance water storage capacity in the country.
Chairman of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Tauseef H Farooq while speaking on the occasion said that he was a big fan of hydropower projects in the country adding that NEPRA was fully committed to promoting indigenous resource-based affordable electricity to the consumers.
He said currently the country’s total installed power generation capacity stood at 43,000 MW but it was mostly based on imported fuel. He said that he had suggested the past government includes hydro in the classification of RE. The government has also devised a plan to completely change the current energy mix and generate over 65 per cent of electricity through indigenous resources including hydel, solar, wind, etc.
Minister of Energy and Water Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhary Arshad said that the energy crisis could be overpowered by tapping more hydel potential in various parts of Pakistan and AJK. He said AJK has also huge hydropower energy potential which needed to be exploited for economic and agricultural growth.
CEO International Hydropower Association Mr. Eddie Rich said hydropower was growing but not at a fast pace globally. Hydropower was a clean and green energy that needed to be promoted at fast track, he said.
He said there was a huge potential for hydropower at a global level that needed to be exploited. The existing hydro fleet has also an urgent modernization need, he said.
Earlier in his welcome address Chairman organizing committee of the conference, Naeem Qureshi said the conference was being organized to discuss the progress Pakistan and the adjoining region had achieved in the hydropower sector.
He said the conference would prove to be a milestone in the promotion of hydropower not only in the country but also in the region.
Dr. Munawar Iqbal, DG Hydro PPIB, Mohd Fauzi Bin Shafie, CEO, TNB Remaco Pakistan Pvt Ltd, Senior Advisor CSAIL NA Zuberi, Halima khan H.O corporate affairs EU , Khattar AbdulKhalek, Head of Business Development and Acting GM for Aerodyne KSA, Muhammad Asad Imran, Country Manager, DOLSAR Engineering Pakistan, Fahd Bin Zafar, MM Pakistan (MMP), Sohail Butt, Former DMD, PSO, and others also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the importance of hydropower for sustainable development.

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