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Calls for integrated policy on renewable, alternative energy

The government should formulate an integrated and comprehensive policy on renewable and alternate energy as well as announce solar energy tariff and introduce net metering system as a short-term solution to overcome shortage of electricity in the country.

Talking to APP here Sunday, the Renewable and Alternate Energy Association (RAEA) Chairman (Punjab Chapter), Engineer Faiz Muhammad Bhutta spelt out the Association’s suggestions on alternate energy resource to the government.

The RAEA Chairman said the renewable and alternate energy policy should have separate features for the urban and rural consumers, besides the government should also formulate laws, which make the installation of solar system mandatory feature in the design of all buildings of housing societies, commercial plazas and residential infrastructures etc.

There is a dire need to work on wind energy projects through one-window operation in Sindh and Balochistan, and installation of modern plants with “low carbon technology” for coal-fired electricity generation so as to maintain the international environmental standards, he maintained.

To a question, Engineer Faiz Muhammad Bhutta said that local and foreign investors faced with numerous problems due to absence of a proper parameters/mechanism for fixing the solar energy tariff, citing that it would also create mayhem as every investor would get approved solar tariff of his choice from the NEPRA (National Electric Power Regulatory Authority) and each of them would have a different technology and different tariff. Therefore, he added, the government should fix solar tariffs for 250MW, 500MW and of above capacity plants and it would not only prove to be very helpful for the investors but also beneficial for the Solar Energy Park being established in Cholistan area of Punjab province.

Another issue, he said, was that whosoever would install the solar system, he would automatically become power producer therefore “net metre” installation would be inevitable to differentiate the electricity ratio consumed by him as well as the surplus for sale.

He claimed the solar energy growth was impossible until the government announce the solar power tariff and allow the installation of net metres, asserting that these steps would give an instant end to load-shedding.

The RAEA chairman termed Punjab the land of solar energy and said that WAPDA should play its effective role in motivating the consumers towards the use of solar energy. For this purpose, he suggested that measures be put in order for provision of soft-term bank loans to the power consumers for setting up solar systems.

To another query, Faiz Muhammad mentioned that solar growth in the world had become possible through a proper legislation and Pakistan could optimize the solar energy generation by following the international trends. “If Bangladesh can generate 5000MW electricity through solar resource, then why not Pakistan,” he maintained.

The RAEA Chairman suggested that government should make the solar system mandatory in the designs of housing societies, commercial plaza and all under-construction infrastructures.

To a question, he said, though wind energy was cost effective and economic means of energy, it falls in the category of long-term projects, elaborating that federal government issues license to investors for wind energy project, while, the site/land (of the project) is owned by the provincial government and it normally takes four to five years to complete the documental process and develop the project infrastructure.

Another query, he said that Sindh and Balochistan were the most excellent provinces for wind energy projects. app

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