ISLAMABAD - French Development Agency (AFD) has agreed to consider providing assistance for Balochistan's solar tube wells and establishment of Renewable Energy Institute in its development portfolio for the year 2018.

"AFD will definitely study as to how it can provide assistance in the installation of solar tube wells in Balochistan to provide off grid solution besides reducing the components of circular debt" French Ambassador to Pakistan Marc Barety, said in a meeting with Federal Minister for Power Division Awais Ahmed Khan  Leghari.

The federal and Balochistan governments have already agreed to install 30,000 solar tube wells in the province by replacing the existing conventional tube wells.

The estimated cost of one tube-well is around six to seven million rupees but it will help in saving billion of rupees subsidy in future, official said.

The project will be funded by the federal government and the agriculture consumers using the solar tube wells will pay bills to Qesco.

The federal government is providing Rs24 billion to the tube wells in Baluchistan annually while Rs24 billion is being paid by the government of Balochistan.

The recovery of agriculture tube wells is very low and the tube well owners are not paying the agreed Rs10000 per months bills. 

Presently the capacity of these 30,000 tube wells is 900MW, and the conversion will also lead towards saving of the electricity.

The conversion to solar power will result in lessening burden on national exchequer. Besides, the conversion will also lead towards ensured power supply on affordable rates to the agriculturists yielding in increase in the productivity.

The minister said that French companies should explore the fast growing power sector of Pakistan for its better returns.

He said that the consumers services areas in the Discos provides good opportunity to the investors.

The minister also informed the ambassador about the government initiative to author new energy policy and electricity plan.

The minister also appraised the ambassador on the renewable energy institute pursued by AEDB and HEC. He said that US and Danish governments are sharing their experience regarding the establishment of the institute.  He invited the French government and AFD for their assistance in the establishment of the institute. The minister said that the energy trade would ultimately benefit the consumers.

He said that government has been pursuing the policies to reduce the role of the government in power sector while promoting the market force to operate to safeguard the interests of the consumers and also to cater for the chronic issues like the circular debt etc.

The French ambassador said that the progress in the power sector has been exemplary and many French potential companies dealing with power sector are taking keen interest.

He said that AFD will definitely study as to how it can provide assistance in the installation of solar tube wells in Balochistan to provide off grid solution besides reducing the components of circular debt.