EXPERTS SUGGEST IMMEDIATE STEPS TO ENSURE TRANSITION TO CLEAN ENERGY IN PAKISTAN

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Islamabad, MAY 29 – /DNA/ – Right steps should be taken at every level to ensure transitiontowards clean energy in Pakistan. The experts in oil and gas sector said this while sharing their views with the participants at the public private dialogue‘The role of Oil and Gas Sector in clean energy transition of Pakistan-Rural Sindh,’jointly organized by sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) andShah Abdul Latif University (SALU), Khairpur, here on Tuesday.

Senior Manager & Energy and Low Carbon Specialist, ICF, MrEnrui Zhang, remarked that the employment opportunities and the situation of power shortage in Pakistan has been significantly improved due to the CPEC under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He opined that the oil and gas will play a critical role in Pakistan’s future mix and it provides multiple areas for Pak-China collaboration such as upgrade of infrastructure, exploration of reserves, and production. However, now the targets of CPEC should be aligned with climate and energy targets of Pakistan.

Prof DrTaj Muhammad Lashari, Dean Social Sciences, Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU), Khairpur, was of view that it should be the responsibility of oil and gas companies to provide power access to people below poverty line. Such initiative would help in improving their living standards besides building a sense of security amongst them, he added.

Director Planning and development,MrSajjad Hussain Talpur, highlighted that the living conditions of people in Badin and Khairpur districts are dismally poor despite the area being producer of the significant volume of oil and gas. Therefore, the funds under CSR should be used on the development projects in these areas.

Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director, SDPI, informed the participants about the renewable energy policy of the government and said that it is very encouraging to shift country towards climate friendly projects. He added further that the investments in renewable sources should remain a priority and transmission and distribution challenges should be addressed. Moreover, he said, we need to incentivize the demand side so that there is a large consumer base for clean energy.

Ms Nimra Wasim, from Engro Vopak Terminal Limited,highlighted that Engro is focusing on renewable substitutes and has started green initiatives recently. DrFaheem Akhtar, from IBA Sukkur,was of the opinion that the major bottleneck currently Pakistan is facing is the transmission sector due to which Pakistan is only able to evacuate 22,000 MW despite having a generation capacity of 37,000 MW. To overcome the barrier of grid absence, micro-grids can be installed in rural areas.

Associate professor, SALU, Dr Naveed Sheikh, while describing the role of Academia in Clean Energy Transition, said that the curriculum of academic studies should be revised to include courses on ‘Clean Environment’ and ‘Quality of life’. DrBilal Shams Memon, from Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Khairpur,emphasized that the curriculum should also be linked to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), CSR, and entrepreneurship projects.

Dr Abdul Shakoor, representing Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University of Technology and Skill Development, Khairpur, local manufacturing of solar PV panels should be explored, and Oil and Gas sector companies could take lead in encouraging such initiatives. Each individual should be aware of his carbon footprints and ways to reduce carbon emissions.

Ms Maha Kamal, Teaching Fellow, Information Technology University, opined that we need to move away from thermal based fuels to come in line with Paris Agreement, and be cognizant of the social and economic impacts of clean energy transition. Earlier, Dr Hina Aslam, Research Fellow, SDPI,highlighted the role of oil and gas companies in supporting the growth of deep decarbonization technologies for the sector at the company and industry level, adopting green business models and initiatives.