Fostering Renewable Energy Development in Sindh: Identification of Impediments and the Road Ahead’ by Zeeshan Ashfaq, WWEA

Weak Grid Infrastructure: Weak grid infrastructure is the most pressing issue containing the growth of renewable energy in Sindh. Continuous tripping and forced shutdowns are frequent for operational projects. Under constructions projects are being delayed due to insufficient evacuation facilities.

Limited Ability of Provincial Government: Power system in Pakistan is centralized where the entities under the federal government have monopoly over power evacuation, offtake and distribution. The provincial government has not been able to develop institutional setup that deals with power purchase and distribution.

Lack of Coordination Mechanism: Policy makers at both levels have failed to develop consistent and coherent operating procedures and power procurement plans based on the existing policies. More than 2,500MW of LOIs issued by Sindh government are not included in NTDC’s grid development plan as those LOIs were issued without the involvement of the grid operator.

Inconsistent Regulatory and Policy Decisions: Arbitrary decisions by the federal government have significantly slowed the progress of renewable energy in Pakistan. The Cabinet Committee on Energy’s decision in 2017 stopped renewable energy projects including the ones initiated by Sindh under feed-in-tariff framework whereas coal and RLNG based plants were allowed development.

The responses from the government officials remain measured and divided. While the officials at the federal level believe a significant progress has been made in terms of renewable energy deployment and bottlenecks are being removed gradually, respondents from the provincial government contend that more renewable energy could have been added if the previous government at the federal level had not made lop-sided policy decisions.