The ‘All Pakistan Business Forum’ has urged the government to harness the vast potential of renewable energy sources, to overcome the energy crisis in Pakistan. A robust new opportunity has been created for off-grid applications of renewable power technologies, as a large number of Chinese investors, engineers and experts are currently engaged in building large infrastructural projects, under the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC).
The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi suggested that; “The current power shortfall in Pakistan is around 4500MW to 6000MW and is estimated to cost the economy more than two percent of GDP annually, whereas the power demand is growing at about eight percent per annum. This factor is consistently hampering economic growth. The Pakistani entrepreneurs can seek resourceful solutions from the Chinese experts, to curtail the energy challenge.”
The primary scope of renewable technologies comprises of solar and wind power generation, to help in reliable electrification of industries, educational & health-care institutions, telecom towers, water-heating plants, etc. in Pakistan. Moreover, the Chinese companies can also help the rural and remote communities in installing; independent Solar tube-wells, Bio-Gas Milk-Chiller plants and Wind-Mill farms for domestic lighting and other essential uses to enhance energy-security. Pakistan can greatly benefit from the presence of Chinese engineering enterprises and experts in the country, hence ensure a cleaner, greener and energy-abundant future.
The government of Pakistan already offers numerous incentives and regulatory support to provide technological and financial assistance for the alternate energy arena. Power projects (and income thereof) have already been exempted from income tax and turnover tax, while the customs-duty, sales-tax and with-holding tax have also been removed from the imports of equipment like power panels and inverters, etc. Most regulatory barriers restraining the flow of capital have been removed to allow direct international investments in the renewable energy sector of Pakistan. Up to 100 percent equity participation and unlimited remittance of profits, dividends, service fees or capital has also been allowed in this sector.
NEPRA has determined the upfront tariff for solar power projects at an ‘affordable’ – US Cent 14.1516 per kWh, which is expected to be reduced to a single digit soon. The revolutionary concepts of ‘Net-metering’ and ‘Wheeling’ have also been approved. Whereby, the large-scale and small-scale producers of renewable energy may also sell-back surplus electricity to the national grid. These measures will raise the productivity of the people.