ISLAMABAD - The government, as part of its measures to meet growing energy needs in the country, has added 1370.1 MW power to national grid through renewable energy projects since 2013.

Significant progress has been made since 2013 with regards to utilization of available renewable energy resources. A number of large scale wind, solar and biomass projects have been initiated and completed. A detailed resource assessment of wind, solar and biomass has been carried out  throughout the country.

Sources at Energy Division while highlighting milestones achieved so far on Sunday said a consumer friendly regime for net-metering has been established while more than 700,000 people have benefited from solar lighting solutions under Lighting Pakistan Programme so far.

Pakistan ranks at 26 position amongst the top 40 globally most attractive countries for renewable energy investment as per the Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index. About the steps taken for harnessing renewable energy potential in the country, the sources said these included Development of Framework for Power Cogeneration (Bagasse/Biomass) 2013 for exploiting available potential for power generation using bagasse through sugar mills.

Preparation and approval of bankable standard security agreements (Energy Purchase Agreement and Implementation Agreement) for wind, solar and bagasse cogeneration power projects and conducting resource assessment of renewable energy resources in Pakistan were the other steps.

The sources said a detailed ground data based resource assessment of wind, solar and biomass was being carried out through support of Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) while Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) has assisted National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) in preparation and announcement of regulations for Distributed Generation and Net-Metering for renewable energy applications.

AEDB is assisting concerned stakeholders in implementation of regulations and also carrying out capacity building of DISCOs, the sources said and added as a result of AEDB's effort for initiating indigenous manufacturing of RE equipment, M/s China Three Gorges has established a tower manufacturing facility which will be upgraded to wind turbine assembling facility in future.  M/s DESCON is also manufacturing wind turbine towers.

Moreover, the sources said issues related to financing of projects have been resolved and now leading financing agencies like International Finance Corporation (IFC) and ADB.

 

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Trade Bank etc. are offering financing to renewable energy power projects in Pakistan.

The use of solar based off-grid applications such as solar water heaters, solar-water pumps, solar street lights etc. is being promoted.

In order to restrict import of sub-standard solar equipment, quality standards for solar equipment have been developed. These quality standards have been approved by Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and subsequently adopted by Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority. AEDB is currently supporting Ministry of Science & Technology and Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) in implementation of solar quality standards.

The IFC Lighting Pakistan Programme was also initiated for promotion of off-grid RE applications to help provide safe, affordable, high-quality lighting to more than a million Pakistanis.

The sources said the government has decided to develop more wind and solar power projects through competitive bidding in order to avail benefits of decreasing prices through market competition.