KARACHI  -  A key official in the Sindh government on Saturday gave an assurance to investors doing wind energy projects in the province that the provincial government would do its best to resolve their issues in the shortest possible time and prove that Pakistan is fully capable of utilizing its potential to generate clean electricity through sources of renewable energy.

The assurance to this effect came from Additional Chief Secretary of Sindh Dr Tanveer A Qureshi who is currently heading the provincial Energy Department as he spoke at a consultative session attended by managers and investors of wind energy projects in the province.

The Energy Update organized the event as a brainstorming session for its upcoming event. The Third International Wind Energy Summit will be held in Karachi on October 4.

The consultative session was organized at a time when production from 20 operational wind power projects in Sindh has gone up to 1037 megawatts while by November 2018 another 200MWs of clean energy would be added to the national grid through completion of four more wind energy plants. Some 35 wind projects are in different stages of development in the province that could generate up to 2500 MWs of more clean electricity.

One of the key problems being faced by the prospective investors keen to launch new wind energy projects in Sindh is the pending issue of leasing of the land in the Gharo-Jhimpir wind corridor of the province and the provincial government has the full resolve to resolve the lease issue as early as possible in the best interest of the investors.

In this regard, the Board of Revenue of the Sindh government is going to convene a high level meeting soon to resolve the land lease issue of prospective investors in wind energy projects. The session would consider this issue as per directives of the apex judiciary.

The Sindh additional chief secretary for energy while speaking on the occasion acknowledged that previously the government could not give equal emphasis on all facets of energy sector as issues of the energy sector investors, including those willing to do alternative power projects, lingered on. He said it was high time that work on all these aspects of the power sector should be done in tandem with each other in order to resolve all problems being faced by new and incoming energy projects. He said the government had a natural sort of monopoly in the power sector but by no means should this monopoly be discriminatory against the interests of new power projects. He said that a lot of issues concerning the investors doing power projects had emerged in the aftermath of the 18th Constitutional Amendment when provinces took over several aspects of the energy sector after getting separated from the centre.

“But we should all keep in mind that energy is not at all a provincial issue; it is a national issue having a lot to do with the economy and the GDP so it has to be resolved through a national approach,” he said.

He said the provincial government would effectively plead before the federal entities the case of the investors doing alternative projects in Sindh to facilitate them and to resolve their procedural and regulatory issues. “From now onwards the energy department of the Sindh government will adopt a proactive approach to resolve issues of renewable energy projects in the province as this includes recommending to the chief minister the most relevant agenda points on behalf of the power sector to be discussed at the meetings of the Council of Common Interests,” said the additional chief secretary.

He said that best of efforts would be made so to provide the most conducive environment enabling the prospective investors to utilize ideal conditions in Sindh to produce electricity through renewable energy means.

Engineer Mehfooz A Qazi, director of Alternative Energy at Sindh Energy Department, also spoke on the occasion and informed the participants of the discussions about steps being taken to promote wind energy production in the province.

Representatives of different wind energy projects in the province including those in the planning and construction phase informed the senior provincial government officials about different regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles they had been facing mainly from the federal entities owing to which they could not do their work in the desirable manner. Owing to such persisting issues deadlines to make the wind energy projects commercially operational and viable in the province could not be met, causing undue losses to the concerned investors.