Islamabad - The provinces have linked their support for the New Draft Renewable Energy Policy with the incorporation of around 145 projects started under Energy policy 2006 in the new policy and threatened they will not let it go through CCI if their demands were not accepted.

The provinces have made this demand Final round of two days consultations on finalization of Pakistan’s New Draft Renewable Energy Policy started Thursday at Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB). Chairman Prime Minister’s Task Force on Energy Nadeem Babar and Secretary Power Division, Irfan Ali Co-chaired the session.

The provinces have demanded the incorporation of the projects initiated under Policy for Development of Renewable Energy for Power Generation 2006 in the new draft renewable energy policy, official sources told The Nation here. There are around 145 projects initiated by the provinces under the Renewable Energy Policy 2006 and they have to abandon it unless they are incorporated in the New Draft Renewable Energy Policy, the source said.

All the provinces have initiated renewable energy projects and they have demanded protection for it in the new draft policy. In Sindh and Balochistan they have wind projects, Hydro projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while in Punjab they have solar projects. All of the provinces have shown their concern about the future of these projects, said the source.

 Out of the total 145 project initiated by provinces, Letter of Interest(LOI) have been issued to 104 projects, Letter of support have been issued to 19 projects, while 22 projects are in advance stage, said the source quoting the provincial representatives.

However the federal government has shown its readiness only to incorporate the advance stage projects and will decide about the remaining on case to case basis. The provinces are not ready to accept the offer and have threatened to oppose the proposed draft policy in the Council of Common Interest (CCI), the source said.

The government plans to send the Draft Renewable policy to CCI and after its approval it will go to the Federal cabinet for approval. The source said that if approved by the CCI,the draft will be presented to the federal cabinet next month. The source said that it is impossible for the government to incorporate all the projects as it will make the new renewable policy meaningless.

The government wants to provide cheaper energy to the consumers and for the purpose all the future  new renewable energy projects will be based on competitive bidding. With the introduction of new technologies the generation cost of the renewable energy has gone down considerably worldwide. In the presence of cheaper options, the government is not going to opt for expensive energy, the source added.

Meanwhile a press statement issued here stated that in its first session consultation among Key Stakeholders from public sector including Power Division, Provincial Governments, NEPRA, PPIB, NTDC, CPPA, NEECA, Pakistan Engineering Council and Distribution Companies were held. Chief Executive Officer, AEDB Dr. Rana Abdul Jabbar Khan presented the draft of the new Renewable Energy Policy in the meeting for discussion of the participants.

In his opening remarks, Secretary Power Division underlined the importance of new renewable energy policy in present day situation when the technologies on one side are fast developing while on other side the cost is continuously lowering.  He especially in the context of electricity basket hugely tilted towards thermal imported fuels emphasized increasing the current share of around 4% of the Renewable Energy to 20% by year 2025 and 30% by year 2030.

Secretary Power Division while underscoring the importance of renewable resources and their optimal utilization for generation of electricity, said that from the prospect of attaining energy security in the country and also decreasing impact of current thermal generation on environment, Pakistan need to develop and harness to the maximum level its indigenous renewable energy resources. The induction of renewable sources in wake of sharp decline in its cost will help in decreasing the electricity prices in the country.

During discussing the salient features of the new Renewable Energy Policy, Secretary Power Division said that an attempt has been made to give major role to the Federating Units in major decision making regarding planning and feasibilities of projects by introducing concept of Steering Committee with membership of all Federating Units and the Federal Government.

Mr.  Nadeem Babar, speaking on the occasion explained to the participants the basic driving forces behind developing the new Renewable Energy Policy. He said that during the fiscal year 2018-19 40% electricity generation accrued of the imported fuels which highly unsustainable for the country’s economy especially when we have abundance of indigenous resources at our disposal. He said that the capacity payments to the thermal IPPs during the last fiscal year has almost eaten up efforts of present government against theft and recovery drives resulting in highest ever recovery figures. Similarly the carbon foot prints of the country at present cannot be ignored specially when the country is among the top 10 countries at the highest risk of environmental changes.

The Chairman PM’s Task Force on Energy also highlighted the fast growth of technologies in the renewable energy sector that further support the Present Government’s urge to harness the country’s potential to the maximum.

Participants of the meeting also gave their input regarding the Draft New Renewable Energy Policy. The discussion on policy will continue for two days enabling the AEDB to finalize its draft for placing the same before Federal Cabinet for its approval to place it before Council of Common Interest for its final approval.