ISLAMABAD – A solid and broad consensus among key stakeholders for curbing coal-based power generation in Pakistan and diverting 60 per cent of the total energy mix to renewable energy by 2030 was stressed by energy experts at a consultative meeting held at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).
The session, which was held to discuss IPS study on Barriers surrounding Distributed Generation was chaired by Executive President IPS Khalid Rahman, moderated by former Secretary, Ministry of Water and Power Mirza Hamid Hasan, and addressed by Asad Mehmood from National Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (NEECA), Aftab Ahmad Awan from Planning Commission of Pakistan, Neshmiya A. Khan, Hamza Butt and Maryam Arshad from World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Zeeshan Ashfaq from World Wind Energy Association Pakistan (WWEA), Mushtaq Gaadi from Quaid-i-Azam University, and Dr Azhar Lashari and Haneea Isaad from Rural Development Policy Institute (RDPI). The briefings were delivered by IPS energy team including Naila Saleh, Hamza Naeem and Sara from IPS.
Terming solar prosumage as an irresistible and most promising solution to simultaneously advance renewable energy uptake vis-à-vis address the chronic bottlenecks plaguing the national power sector, the speakers discussed at length how several barriers including regulatory bumps at inter-connection phase, low trust in technology, difficulties in accessing finance, and inertia at the level of distribution companies (DISCOs)—were collectively restricting solar PV growth in the country. Overall great emphasis was made on the alignment of distributed generation growth in IGCEP, significant stakeholder consultations and support, and consolidated changes for overcoming the identified challenges.
It was also discussed that the environmental impact assessment of coal power generation in the country was not easily accessible—making it quite difficult to ascertain the effect of the waste of these plants on subsoil fertility and biodiversity. The speakers said that those coal projects already initiated under the aegis of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor should however should be completed while realistic implementation action plan should be designed for the future against the background of PM decision made on not considering new coal-fired power plants.