Pak sets for a fast track solarization initiative

Muhammad Asad
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan sets to kick off a Fast-Track Solarization Initiative of 600 Megawatts solar power plant on Tuesday as a pilot project for the Country’s ambitious 11000 Megawatt production of solar energy in the coming years. It was announced by Federal Minister for Power, Engineer Khurram Dastgir during a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday.
According to him, Pakistan has tremendous indigenous resources including hydel, solar, wind, coal, and nuclear resources which need to be tapped judicially to produce cost-effective and environment-friendly power for local use.
Ahead of the initiation of the bidding process for the newly proposed 600 megawatts solar power project, Federal Minister told the media that the incumbent government intends to provide cheaper energy to disadvantaged and low-income households in the country. According to him, the government has started a four-prong strategy to provide immediate relief to inflation-hit masses and for that end, the government had planned to convert the already existing 6000 megawatts energy plant on indigenous resources to reduce hefty energy import bills.
Further, the government also planned to shift government buildings and offices to solar energy, together with the conversation of agricultural tube wells to solar energy besides the installation of 1-4 megawatts power plants in rural and selected urban areas. Dastgir told the reporters that the prices of energy fuels including oil, gas, and oil had increased up to hundreds of percent which badly affected electricity consumers in the country.
While responding to a media query, Kharrum Dastgir said that the incumbent government is making concerted efforts to provide relief to the public while Fuel Price Adjustment (FPA) had been waived off for consumers having less than 300 units of electricity usage.
Dastgir claimed that about 75 percent of electricity consumers and three out of four households are getting substantial benefits from this exemption, which cost about 42 billion rupees monthly to the government. According to him, by the end of the current year, the government would be able to add another 1320 megawatts of energy to the national grid from the Shangai Thar coal power project.
Power Minister said that the international investors and partner nations have shown deep interest in investment in Pakistan’s renewable energy projects while local investors will also be welcome to invest in this lucrative opportunity.
According to him, in the first go, the government intends to determine the real per unit price of solar energy in a transparent manner through the completion of the 600 megawatts project, and the rest of the 1100 megawatts energy projects would be tailored according to the outcome of the pilot project.