The new government in Pakistan plans to increase the share of renewable energy in total power generation to 30 percent by 2030, particularly power from wind, solar, small hydro and biomass, with an additional 30 percent from large scale hydropower.
Courtesy of Muzafar Bukhari
Currently, the share of renewable energy stands at a meagre 4 percent, despite the fact that the country holds huge renewable energy potential particularly wind and solar. Large hydro currently provides around a fourth of the country’s electricity supply.
During the last week of February, The Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE), chaired by the Finance Minister, approved proposals from the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) for all future renewable energy projects to be treated under the Renewable Energy Policy 2019. The new policy, whose guiding principles have already been approved by CCoE, is being reviewed by different stakeholders and will be formally taken by CCoE later.
CCoE decided to permit renewable energy projects possessing a letter of support from the Alternative Energy Development Board to proceed towards achieving their required milestones in accordance with the Renewable Energy Policy 2006. The decision marks a positive effort by the government, which favours future renewable energy deployment. The Power Minister announced last week that the country will raise the share of renewable energy in the total power mix to 30 percent by 2030. The government also plans to increase the share of hydro power to 30 percent by the same period. This would translate into 60 percent overall share of renewable energy in the total power mix of the country. The targets set by the government are significant and in line with international climate change commitments, setting an example for other developing countries to follow.
“It is quite encouraging to observe that the government plans to set higher targets for renewable energy deployment for which he have been advocating for over a decade now” said Air Marshall Shahid Hamid (Retd.), Honorary Vice President of WWEA and Chair of WWEA Pakistan. “The main mission of WWEA Pakistan Office is to create a bridge between the efforts of the government, the private sector and development partners to advance renewable energy development in the country and beyond. WWEA will play its part in establishing concrete roadmap for smooth transition towards achieving the target of 30 percent renewable energy in Pakistan by 2030.”
The announcement comes against the backdrop of WWEA’s successful 17th World Wind Energy Conference that was organised in November 2018 in Karachi where more than 600 participants from 30 countries participated. The conference objectives included, inter alia, reviving blocked renewable energy projects in Pakistan and asking the government to set a fresh trajectory for renewable energy development in the country to meet its growing energy demands without aggravating climate change risks.
The government’s plan to generate around 18,000 MW of renewable energy by 2030 could hit a roadblock in the shape of a pipeline of more than 5 GW of coal fired projects. The previous renewable energy policy of 2006 provided multiple incentives to the private sector to develop renewable energy projects. However, the policy stopped short of achieving desirable results due to the absence of an action plan complementing the policy framework. The new policy should follow a strategic plan of action by creating a favourable environment for coordination mechanism between various departments dealing the renewable energy sector.
WWEA Secretary General Stefan Gsänger added that the groundbreaking decision to increase the renewable energy share to 30 percent plus 30 percent will bring Pakistan to the forefront of renewable energy countries. Such focus on a renewable energy based economy will be very beneficial for the country, its citizens, its industry and its environment.