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Promotion of biomass, sustainable energy use urged

The speakers at a consultative workshop on Wednesday urged promotion of sustainable energy production and usage and explore avenues for biomass in the country.

Local and international experts speaking at a project document presented at the workshop focused on impending measures to meet domestic and commercial energy needs across the country.

The UNIDO has contracted Winrock International to develop a UNIDO/GEF project document on “Promoting sustainable energy production and use from biomass in Pakistan”.

The overall aim of the project is to promote market-based adoption of modern biomass energy conversion technologies for process heat generation by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in clusters and power generation in rural areas of the country and develop a UNIDO/GEF project document for endorsement.

“After increase in ratio of thermal power into national grid, we bear extra burden for oil import and electricity tariff is also increasing,” said Chief Executive Officer, Alternate Energy Development Board Arif Alauddin, in his inaugural address.

He informed the participants that 60 million people in Pakistan are living without electricity. “To cope with this situation, we shall have to explore alternate energy resources as we have 50,000 MW potential in hydro power, 300,000 MW in wind power and unlimited mega watts in solar energy.”

He said the authorities cannot reach out to 48,000 villages for electrification even during next 20 years. However, these villages have vast potential for alternate energy generation.

“This also requires investment by private sector,” he said and expected US$ 500 million investment in wind and solar energy sectors by the end of current financial year.

He supported the consultation process and said,” it should culminate at concrete proposals to help country meet energy requirements”.

The present full scale project counts on a total budget of US$ two million in GEF grant funding and about US$ seven million in co- financing to be mobilized from stakeholders.

GEF resources being requested for this project will be targeted at establishing a market environment that will promote investments in modern biomass energy conversion technologies to provide process heat in SMEs in clusters and power generation in rural areas.

More specifically, GEF funding will be used to partly finance the activities like developing three pilot projects to demonstrate the technical feasibility and economic viability of modern biomass energy conversion technologies in SMEs in clusters or in rural areas; strengthening policy and regulatory frameworks and institutional mechanism; and capacity building and awareness rising.

The work defines 5 tasks including Collection and Analysis of Supplementary Data; Consultations with the Stakeholders; Design Pilot/Demonstration Project; Project Strategy and implementation Detailing; and Organization of Project Meetings and Workshops.

Project team Leader Irfan Afzal Mirza said that the objective of this workshop was to gather feedback from relevant stakeholders and expert groups for potential components and activities for the upcoming project.

“Outcome of these tasks will form an input to the full scale Project mentioned above,” he said, adding, all the data gathered will be presented in the form of full scale project document report and will be submitted to UNIDO/GEF for CEO endorsement.

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