Energy affordability key to boosting economic growth

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ISLAMABAD: National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Chairman Waseem Mukhtar has said that promoting energy affordability for exporters through regionally competitive tariffs is a critical factor for boosting economic growth in the current challenging times.

Speaking at the Pakistan Energy Conference, jointly organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Eventive Solutions on Monday, Mukhtar underscored the need for boosting investments in a reliable energy supply and transmission system and increasing access, according to a press release.

The conference was aimed at exploring policy solutions and chart out a viable way forward to promote renewable energy transition in Pakistan under a worsening global and national energy inflation, for sustainable economic development and providing relief to the public from external price shocks.

The Nepra chairman remarked that the energy sector’s success depended on three factors, ie, reliability, affordability and accessibility. He also stressed the need for improvement in forecasting mechanisms to ensure return on investments for renewable energy projects.

“We are confronting a poly-crisis globally and domestically; there is a pressing need for innovative solutions to achieve a balance between soaring energy prices and capacity payment issues to alleviate some of the sufferings of the public,” said Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, the SDPI Executive Director.

Former special assistant to prime minister Romina Khurshid Alam underlined that there was an immediate need for execution of solar and wind projects through competitive bidding.

She called for tapping into the Green Climate Fund to catalyse the national-level energy transition projects. She emphasised the need for scaling up off-grid systems to address social challenges and increase energy access for marginalised communities.

Board of Investment Director General Zulfiqar Ali said that the government of Pakistan was bringing the Asaan Karobaar Programme under which the National Regulatory Delivery Office was being established to support investments from the private sector.

Speaking on the occasion, NTDC’s former deputy managing director Muhammad Ayub said opting for wind energy in low-load areas like south Punjab and improving transmission from such points to high-demand areas would prevent transmission losses. He urged the government to focus on indigenising the manufacturing of solar PVs, inverters, etc to reduce technology cost and import dependence.

He also called for introducing hybrid renewable energy technologies in areas with low wind pressure to scale up the integration of wind in renewable energy. SNGPL Board of Directors Chairperson Roohi Khan urged the government to focus on technology transfer and concessionary financing for the indigenous manufacturing of renewable energy technologies.

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