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Experts emphasise on learning from global best practices in VRE sector

  • July 23, 2021

Achieving targets of 30pc RE by 2030 will require some investments in transmission capacity of Balochistan

ISLAMABAD   –   The experts from energy sector have emphasised that for a sustainable energy transition, Pakistan needs to incorporate global best practices in its energy sector, especially in Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) sector related policies.

They were speaking at a webinar titled ‘Future directions for VRE deployment in Pakistan— A discussion on the findings of the World Bank’s VRE report’ jointly organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Pakistan Renewable Energy Coalition (PREC). They discussed the prospects of grid integration and locational study conducted by the World Bank for energy sector of Pakistan, and major challenges for revised version of Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) 2030.

Senior Energy Specialist, The World Bank, Oliver Knight, shared various aspects of studies conducted by the World Bank on ‘Variable Renewable Energy Integration and Planning’ and ‘Variable Renewable Energy Locational Study’ with the participants.

Based on the outputs of both reports, Oliver said the most optimum capacity expansion pathway for Pakistan is through increased expansion of solar and wind capacity as it will decrease the utilization of existing generation facilities which are no longer competitive.

He opined that achieving targets of 30 per cent RE by 2030 would require some investments in transmission capacity of Balochistan.

Manager Power System Planning, National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), Shahbaz Ahmad, while providing details on revised version of Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion plan (IGCEP) 2030, informed the participants that wind and solar in plan are added at around 4000 MW due to displacement of expensive thermal power plants.

Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) Director Policy, Syed Aqeel Hussain Jafri, was of view that while the policy targets dictate an increasing share of RE in energy mix, any development has to be based on the outputs of IGCEP once it is approved. The revision of IGCEP should be carried out after every two years to incorporate the decreasing cost of technologies, he added.

Amin Lakhani, Director, Clean Energy Projects on the USAID funded Sustainable Energy for Pakistan (SEP) project, highlighted that 88 per cent of capacity expansion in plan was due to committed projects and NTDC.  He suggested that revision should include the definitions of committed projects to those that have achieved financial closure, reducing the entry size of mega projects to facilitate the least cost optimization, and using the RLNG price as the fuel cost for all natural gas plants.

Pakistan Renewable Energy Coalition, Member Zeeshan Ashfaq suggested that Pakistan should move towards second market rather than just focusing on cost portion of the resource. Further, Pakistan also needs to look for the socio-economic impacts of different sources that are being added.

Energy Finance Analyst from Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) Simon Nicholas suggested that Pakistan may look towards experience of South Australia as it not had a major support from the federal government policies, yet the region was able to achieve the targets through support of just state government.

Energy Economist, Rural Development Policy Institute (RDPI), Naila Saleh, while highlighting the role of distributed generation in clean energy transition of Pakistan, said that 25 per cent population of Pakistan is without the access to electricity. There are high technical and non-technical losses and people are being affected by power outages on a daily basis.

SDPI Research Fellow, Dr Hina Aslam, earlier shared some key aspects of the importance of discussion in policy perspective.


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