Islamabad    -   Donors and private sector representatives pointed out several shortcomings in the New Draft Alternative & Renewable Energy Policy 2019 and said that it will be unwise decision to get rid of the existing investors working under the Renewable Energy policy 2006 on 8000 MW renewable energy projects by introducing new policy.

“To kill the investors working on 8000 MW renewable energy projects with single bullet and aiming for another 8000 MW investors is beyond understanding” ,the representatives of the donor, local and international partners and private investors said during consultation on New Draft Alternative & Renewable Energy Policy 2019.

As part of two days consultation meetings for finalisation of Pakistan’s New Draft Alternative & Renewable Energy Policy 2019, the second session of consultative meetings with private sector stakeholders and multilateral donor agencies was held 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 meeting was attended by private sector representative bodies and entities including World Wind Energy Association, Renewable & Alternative Energy Association of Pakistan, Pakistan Wind Energy Association, Pakistan Solar Association, Solar Quality Foundation, Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, Energy Update Group, USPCAS-E, leading law and consulting firms. The workshop was also attended by multilateral donor agencies including World Bank, IFC, ADB, USAID UNIDO and KFW.

It is worth mentioning here that in the first day of the consultation, 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, 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.

A source privy to the meeting told The Nation that in Friday session the donors and private investors also took the same stand regarding the already initiated projects and said that it will hurt investment if the government simply wants to do away with the renewable energy projects started under RE policy 2006. It will be unwise if the government wants to simply scrape the already started projects, they added. “Why new investors will come to you if you have ditched the existing investors.”

The representatives of donors and private investors proposed in the draft renewable policy that the investors working in the renewable energy project and have invested time and money should have the first right to refuse. The government needs to accommodate these investors properly so they don’t feel betrayed or hurt, they added.

The donors and private sectors also objected the proposed draft  policy where the government intends to add new renewable energy in the total energy basket on percentage basis and said that the policy need to be reviewed. For example they said that today the total energy generation is 30000 MW and 9000 MW is renewable but next year it will be 35000 and the following year 40000 MW and it will keep increasing. Instead of percentage, they recommended that the government should set the target in Mega Watts per year.

They further said that another proposal of the draft policy related to Government to Government contract is flawed. Pakistan had a bad experience of G to G agreement in case of Sahiwal coal power plant whose cost is almost double as compared to Jamshoro coal plant, which was on competitive bidding. The government should add the condition of competitive bidding to G to G agreement in the draft policy, they proposed.

The donors and private sectors representatives said that under 18th amendment the renewable projects were initiated jointly by the provinces and federal government, where the provincial government used to issue LOI and NEPRA use to issue tariff but under the proposed renewable policy the federal government wants to bring it under the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) which doesn’t seems feasible as it does not provide any incentive to the provinces to cooperate.

It was also proposed that the government should introduce localisation in the new draft policy and should provide incentives for the local manufacturing of Wind concrete poles, transformers and batteries.

    Meanwhile a statement issued here stated that Nadeem Babar said that the issues being faced today by power sector are mainly attributable to absence of a long term plan with targets. He further empathised that our planning needs to be in line with the sustainable development goals set globally and while also accounting for the environmental concerns.  He said that during the fiscal year 2018-19, 40 percent electricity generation accrued of the imported fuels, which is highly unsustainable for the country’s economy especially when we have abundance of indigenous resources at our disposal. Accordingly, the Government intends to increase the share of renewable energy by setting long term targets.

Secretary Power Division while underscoring the importance of renewable resources and their optimal utilisation 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 of 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.

The discussions and inputs received during the consultations will enable AEDB to finalise its draft for placing the same before Federal Cabinet for its approval and then to place the draft before Council of Common Interest for its final approval.