Call to devise a country specific policy for localization of RE industry

ISLAMABAD: Stressing the need to develop a long-term Integrated Energy Plan based on Renewable Energy Transition that may resolve the issue of circular debt and remove economic uncertainties, experts at a high-level policy discourse has suggested devising a country specific policy for the localization of RE industry.

The suggestion was made at a roundtable discourse titled: “Energy Reforms Agenda and Priorities for Pakistan post-2024 Election” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here.

In wind sector, there is a substantial potential to bring down the tariffs through locally developing concrete towers and using local manpower, the experts said, and emphasized to put a much broader focus on demand side management through a better policy approach and monitoring mechanism for energy efficiency and conservation. They were of the view that the new government will have to upscale and expedite the transition from imported fossil fuel-based projects towards local resources.

Highlighting the potential solutions to affordability, reliability, and accessibility, ex-chairman of NEPRA Tauseef H. Farooqi recommended to diversify the power generation mix by increasing the share of renewables for a sustainable energy portfolio, reduce reliance on imported fuels to increase resilience to vulnerability to external factors such as exchange rates and global conflicts and tackle losses and theft in the power sector.

Senior Public Policy Advisor Dr Khaqan Najeeb said a small team in the Ministry of Power with clear targets to meet power transition can help in this regard. “We need to have small human resource, finance and energy experts to resolve IPPs deficit, petrol and diesel prices deregulation, and privatization of power sector,” he maintained. NEPRA and OGRA should come as market makers, he said, and stressed the need to engage external expertise.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said challenges like energy, economy, and digital transformation are ahead, therefore, the new government will have to move towards the solution of these issues with a practical and pragmatic approach. He was of the view that connecting the dots reveals that all challenges are intertwined, thus no issue can be addressed in isolation. He added that a collective working on all sectors would help boost our economy and enable us better energy governance and adoption of better energy technologies. He said this forum is ready to guide the new government that what concrete steps can be taken to improve the system to build a resilient and sustainable economy.

SDPI Research Fellow Dr Khalid Waleed, who also moderated the session, said that the energy landscape of Pakistan is dominated by affordability crisis, therefore, reliance on renewable energy should be the priority of the new government. He further said that the outdated transmission system is also a big problem and should be upgraded to bear renewable energy load.

Tanveer Mirza, a representative of Wind Industry, suggested enacting legislation to ensure policy continuity for over a decade or so to achieve desired dividends. He said that the new government should bring clarity in the state decision on renewable energy adoption.

CEO of PRIED Badar Alam said the policy discourse needs to bring public at its center to ensure inclusive policy development. The new government will have to come up with a plan for a decentralized energy industry to ensure cost efficient solutions.

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