LAHORE            -         The Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front chairman Mian Nauman Kabir has endorsed the recommendations of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), directing the government to include hydropower projects in the scope of renewable energy, as the country cannot afford to rely on costly and anti-environment fossil fuels.

In a joint statement with the senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed and vice chairman Javed Iqbal, PIAF chairman emphasized the importance of dam development, stating that as much as 20 million acres of barren land can be brought under plough if the water is made available by developing water storages in the country. He said that with construction of dams, the country can strengthen its agriculture to attain food security and cope with the fast growing needs of water in domestic and industrial sectors besides injecting sizeable low-cost hydroelectricity into the national grid to stabilize the national economy

According to reports, the NEPRA has written letters to Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB), National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) and Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), asking them to implement the directives of the regulator. According to Nepra, it has been observed that hydropower is not being considered under the scope of renewable energy which is contrary to the definition and standards used worldwide.

The regulator maintained that hydropower is the most advanced and mature renewable energy technology and provides some level of electricity generation in more than 160 countries worldwide including Australia, Norway, Brazil, Canada, Vietnam, Sweden, United States and China etc. Moreover, hydropower is an attractive renewable option given the low-cost of electricity it produces, low greenhouse gas emissions and the flexibility it provide to the grid.

PIAF chairman, commenting on the factors behind the current scenario of water and hydropower sectors in the country, observed that the situation can be improved by putting a robust development mechanism in place and exercising prompt decision making. All stakeholders including the business community are ready to play their due role to implement the National Water Policy for water, food and energy security of the country, he said.

PIAF senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed said that Kalabagh dam should not have been ignored in the federal budget at any cost, as water scarcity is heading towards the point of no return.

Those opposing the Kalabagh Dam are unaware of the ground realities,” he said and added how can a mega water project be harmful for an agrarian country?

Nasir Hameed said that one million acre feet of water gives benefit valued at $2 billion annually to the economy, while Pakistan is throwing away 35 million acre feet of water by delaying construction of the dam.

 

 This means that we are wasting $70 billion a year, which is almost equal to the country’s external debt, he added.

PIAF vice chairman Javed Siddiqi said that PIAF fully supports the voice of NEPRA, advising the public sector organizations to consider adding hydropower in the scope and definition of renewable energy in various energy policies, rules and regulations. He asked the PPIB, NTDC and AEDB to make necessary amendment in all relevant documents and include hydropower projects in the scope of upcoming policies to promote hydropower electricity in the country.