ISLAMABAD - Secretary Ministry of Water and Power claimed on Thursday the government was taking concrete measures to end loadshedding by 2018.

“Bringing loadshedding to zero level is no more a dream now, given so many power projects in the pipeline. It will become a reality by 2018," Muhammad Younus Dagha observed, while speaking as a chief guest at energy conference held here. The official said a multi-pronged strategy was being pursued to meet the country's growing energy needs, and the power generation would be increased to around 20,000 MW in 2018, and around 53000 MW in 2022.

“Similarly, Alternative Energy Development Board had been established, which was also making efforts to add more power through renewable energy means,” he added. He said 25 schemes were in line to harness wind and solar energies for power generation, adding that around 1700 MW of electricity would be produced through wind projects, while 1000 MW would be produced through solar based projects by 2018.

The secretary said the government was also pursuing plans to save energy by introducing austerity measures.

“The provincial governments are being consulted in this regard,” he said, and added, “Energy conservative body is being revived to discourage the wastage of energy, while fine will be imposed on those not using efficient power devices.”

Giving further details, Dagha said the body would recommend energy efficient appliances, which would help a great deal in saving energy.

He said transmission infrastructure had been revamped. “In the past the system could not carry more than 15500 MW of electricity, while now the system was gradually sustaining as more power is being added to it,” he added.

He further said confidence of the private sector had been restored, and circular debt had been restricted to minimum level, while in the past the intra-corporate debts would add up to Rs15 billion each month. “Recovery measures have been launched, which have started yielding the results, and in 2015, Rs51 billion dues were recovered, which speaks in volumes for sincerity of the government on this front,” he said, adding, “Line losses have also been restricted and power generation companies’ dues have been cleared.” Speaking on the occasion, Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB), said the Board served as one window facilitator to promote private sector participation in the power sector of the country.

He said the Board assisted the investors in establishing private power projects, and added investment friendly power policy had been introduced which offered a number of incentives for the private sector. He said among other things, the policy document featured an attractive return on equity in tariff, which had encouraged investment in the power sector.

“Recently, the Board approved two private sector power projects, based on Thar Coal, while Hub Power Company Limited would set up 330 MW power project at Block-II of Thar, Sindh, while another 330 MW power project would be completed at the same block by Thal Power (Private) Limited,” he informed.

He said the PPIB would also invite proposals for developing hydro projects, with the view to add more power to the system. However, he underlined the need for taking effective measures to overcome certain challenges, including making generation mix more sustainable for consumers, evolving medium to long-term integrated planning, expanding and upgrading transmission system and making more recoveries from consumers to bridge the demand and supply gap, which, he said, had swollen up to 6000MW with annual growth of six to seven percent. German Ambassador to Pakistan Ina Lepel said Pakistan needed to take lessons from her country, which had successfully overcome energy issues.

She was of the view that Pakistan needed to exploit renewable energy resources for bridging demand and supply gap, which had witnessed a rise over the years.

Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Ansar Parvez expressed the hope that such events would be helpful for having fruitful discussions on different options to overcome the energy crisis.

Project Director, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Dr Zahir Shah said the project was not only beneficial for the two countries but for the entire region

“The project is not against any country,” adding, “There is a consensus on the project of all political parties, while certain recommendations of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have also been discussed in working group and other forums.”

He said the government would ensure security of the Chinese workforce, while professionalism will be ensured in the project.

Director General, Pakistan House Rana Athar said that as there was energy shortage, so all sources of energy should be availed, including nuclear, to bridge demand and supply gap.

Coal Technologist- Punjab Mineral Company (Pvt) Ltd, Usman Zafar said the country had enough resources of coal, and urged that more focus should be given on this sector.

CEO, K-Electric Tayyab Tareen and Muhammad Naeem Qureshi, Managing Editor-Monthly Energy Update Magazine, also spoke on the occasion, and called for effective measures to overcome the energy crisis.