Experts Emphasize Challenges and Opportunities in Transitioning from Coal Power in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD: In a public-private dialogue organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) as part of its Clean Energy Transition Programme, experts discussed the need for innovative financing and technological advancements to facilitate a just and clean energy transition in Pakistan.

Titled “Beginning of the End: Transitioning away from Coal – Forging an Orderly, Equitable, and Just Energy Transition in Pakistan,” the dialogue aimed to share preliminary findings of an ongoing SDPI study with stakeholders.

Ali Nawaz, Director-General (Coal) at the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) within the Ministry of Energy (Power Division), highlighted that while coal power generation in Pakistan is comparatively low regionally, coal projects have positively impacted local communities in the Thar region through corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Nawaz emphasized the significant financing required for the early retirement of coal power plants, noting that coal contributes to Pakistan’s energy security. He underscored the challenges posed by early retirement, particularly given the young, efficient, and legally constrained nature of Pakistan’s coal fleet.

Asadullah, a specialist at the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA-G), emphasized energy access and affordability as primary challenges in Pakistan. He advocated for incorporating the cost of externalities, such as environmental and social impacts, into government planning and developing financial models that prioritize environmental sustainability.

Ehtasham Khattak, Senior Project Officer at the Asian Development Bank, emphasized the need to transition towards low-carbon fuels while addressing community concerns about resource utilization for power generation.

The dialogue highlighted both the complexities and opportunities associated with transitioning away from coal towards cleaner energy sources in Pakistan.

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