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Vision 2025: govt determined to end energy crisis: Ahsan

ISLAMABAD: Planning, Development and Reforms Minister Prof Ahsan Iqbal has said that the government was determined to ensure energy generation on sustainable basis by tapping rich potential of renewable resources.
Inaugurating a day-long conference on scaling-up wind power development for Pakistan’s sustainable energy future, he said “when the present government came into power one year ago, Pakistan was facing the worst energy crisis as there was 20-22 hour load shedding”.
Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) organized this conference in collaboration with World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) and Heinrich Boll Stiftung Pakistan.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, the minister said that the government made the energy issue its top priority and undertook medium and long-term measures to overcome it.
He said it was observed that there were two problems: shortage of supply and energy mix. “About 70 per cent energy was being generated on furnace oil, which apart from being expensive was putting pressure on foreign exchange reserves with increasing import bill. The high cost of electricity production was unbearable for end users and even a large number of companies remained idle” he continued.
He said the government had taken steps for promoting good governance in power supply system and to reduce line losses.
He said that the government had decided to encourage the conversion of plants which are being run on furnace oil to coal for producing cheaper energy since Pakistan is blessed with rich coal deposits at Thar. He said the government was using the technology for setting up environment friendly coal based plants.
International community, he said, was also satisfied with the policy of converting furnace oil run plants to coal based ones as the Asian Development Bank had supported Jamshoro coal based plant. The minister said under the Pak-China Economic Corridor, up to 21000 MW electricity would be generated in the next five years and “we will double the capacity”. The government, he added, would encourage solar, wind as well as hydel power generation in collaboration with China. He said the PML-N government was giving top priority to the energy sector to generate cheap and affordable energy to the people. The government had allocated Rs 552 billion as development budget out of which Rs 200 billion were earmarked for power sector, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal said the Vision 2025 also laid emphasis on exploration of renewable resources for overcoming the power shortage. He also stressed the need for continuity of policies, besides political stability and strengthening of democracy in the country.
The other speakers also called for promotion of alternate energy resources for the benefit of the people in the country. Among them, Air Marshal (retd) Shahid Hamid, Honorary Vice President of WWEA, Stefan Gsanger, Secretary General WWEA Ms.Saima Jasam, Officiating Country Director Heinrich Boll Stifung Islamabad and Abid Qaiyum Suleri of SDPI addressed the conference as well.

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