Focus on clean energy
In contrast to the expensive and health hazardous energy policy of the previous governments the incumbent one is moving towards the implementation of strategies and plans for clean and cheap energy generation from renewable sources. An agreement has been signed between France and Pakistan for the provision 50.02 million Euro loan to finance the modernization and up-gradation of Dargai Hydropower Plant from 20 megawatt to 22 megawatt and Chitral Hydropower Plant from 1 Megawatt to 5 megawatt in addition to streamlining the transmission and distribution system to reduce line losses. The supply of inexpensive electricity will give impetus to industrial and agricultural development in Malakand Division. Power generation capacity of Warsak Hydropower Plant on River Kabul has dropped to 50 megawatt and it also needs modernization and Up-gradation.
Over the past 25 years lopsided energy policy was vigorously pursued by setting up diesel, furnace oil and coal fired thermal power plants which are owned by private power producers and Chinese companies. The tariff agreed for the purchase of electricity from the Pakistani power producers and the Chinese companies is highly inflated which is a major factor of accumulation of Rs.1.8 trillion circular debts. The operationalisation of 960 megawatt NelumJehlum hydropower plant and 1400 megawatt Tarbella extension have not tilted the balance towards hydel electricity in the overall energy mix. The optimal energy mix can be achieved only when electricity from 2160 megawatt first phase Dasu Hydropower project, 730 megawatt Mohamand and 4000 megawatt DiyamerBasha Hydropower projects are completed and electricity generated therefrom is inducted in the national grid. Contracts for the construction work for Dasu and Mohamand hydropower projects have been awarded. However, the multilateral donors’ agencies are reluctant to provide funding for the DiyamerBasha dam. On the contrary, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank had been willing for funding of Kalabagh dam and would again give a favourable response if serous efforts are made to build consensus for its construction.
The environmental impact of crude Chinese technology coal based thermal power plant of Sahiwal has served a lesson and in contrast to the previous PML-N government the present government, being cautious of air pollution, is not enthusiastic about setting up more such thermal power plants. Hopefully, the pursuit of clean energy will remain top priority in development planning.