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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Power Muhammad Ali on Wednesday said the government is working on a plan to enhance the share of hydel and renewable energy (RE) in the total energy mix to 61 percent by 2030 from the existing 31 per cent.

While speaking at the 3rd International Hydropower Conference after lauding the energy update for organizing the conference on Wednesday, he said that it would help us to improve the policy framework in the energy sector.

The International Hydropower Conference themed, “Hydropower; A Renewable Energy Source for a Sustainable Future” was organised by the Energy Update in collaboration with the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and International Hydropower Association (IHA).

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The caretaker minister for power further stated that enhancing the share of RE and hydropower in energy mix was the government’s top priority as it was the only way to reduce the power tariff besides provision of affordable energy to the people. Currently, the share of hydel and RE in the total energy mix stands at 31 per cent, adding that the government has embarked on an ambitious plan to enhance it to 61 per cent by 2030, he said.

The caretaker minister added that Pakistan has tremendous potential of wind, solar and hydropower. We could alone generate around 64,000 megawatt (MW) from hydel and only tapped 11,000 MW so far. He said work on 4200 MW Dasu hydropower, 800 MW Mohmand dam, and 4500 MW Diamer-Bhasha dam was being carried out. However, financing was a big issue for such mega projects, he added.

The minister said Pakistan has 175 billion tons of Thar coal reserves which could generate electricity for decades.

On the energy conservation side, the minister said that some 3,000-4,000 MW could be saved only through energy-efficient fans across the country.

Speakers at the conference while terming the hydropower and renewable energy (RE) crucial for the sustainable future of the country stressed the need to remove the bottlenecks in harnessing the hydropower and RE potential for provision of affordable electricity to the people and industry.

They were of the view that RE and hydropower were the future of the country but there was a dire need for consistency of government policies to exploit these areas for the benefit of the people.

Earlier, Managing Director Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) Dr Shahjahan Mirza said hydropower projects were equally beneficial for the environment and the economy. He said that PPIB has commissioned four projects having 1,100 MW capacity so far. However, he said it was not an easy task to attract private investors for hydropower projects as it required huge financing and long time period for completion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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