Press Release: Federal Minister for Climate Change, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, said that utilizing massive potential of renewable energy, particularly solar energy, can help tackle nerve-twisting energy crisis in Pakistan and the present PMLN-led government is committed to it.

“Tackling energy crisis is top priority of the present government. For, it is vital for achieving economic growth, alleviating poverty, boosting agriculture and industrial output,” Mushahidullah Khan told the mediaTuesdayon the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of the 100-megawatt Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur.

The federal minister said that he believes utilizing the huge potential of renewable energy in Pakistan, which is clean, cheaper, environmental-friendly and sustainable source, can help achieve these goals.

He also said that solar energy can reduce the mounting pressure on national power grid as a result of soaring energy demand, that peak during summer months. Besides, it can reduce the power losses but also give time to electric companies to upgrade their ailing systems.

Quoting different study reports on countrys solar energy potential, Khan highlighted that solar energy source in the country is abundant, with the country receiving 200-250 watts per square metre daily with an estimated potential of 2.9 million megawatts of solar power per annum. But the country generated less than 10 megawatts of energy from sun until recent few years.

“This is because solar energy has remained hampered by poor integration of techno-economic and socio-political aspects and inconsistent policies of the previous governments, although it was ideal particularly for the remote areas of Balochistan, Cholistan and the Thar desert where grid connectivity is quite difficult,” he stressed.

Since the world economies including Japan, US, China, Germany, France, Finland and India are fast shifting on clean and renewable energy for different reasons, particularly highly volatile oil market, Pakistan can no more afford to lag behind in this regard and has to push deeper into tapping massive solar, wind and tidal sources of renewable energy, Senator Mushahidullah Khan cautioned.

He observes that the world has renewed its interest in solar energy investment as it searches for a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Countries like China, Germany, the UK, the US, Japan and Canada have already made significant investments in solar power.

Above all, the best part about solar energy is that it is abundant and freely available, at least in most parts of the country. However, the high upfront costs of a photo voltaic (PV) panels remain a concern for many investors and potential consumers in the country, Mushahidullah Khan said.

But things are changing fast, he highlighted and said that data of different international organisations indicate that the cost of an average PV system in the PV producing countries like US, Germany and China is tumbling each year at a rate of 11 percent.

“In fact global energy reports conclude that the average price of a PV panel has fallen down by 63 percent since the third quarter of 2010 globally. This has made installing solar energy systems for millions households, businessmen affordable, for whom it was unaffordable till a couple of years ago,” he said.

He said that present government is also committed to promoting clean energy in the country as a part of addressing the widening energy deficit and the opening of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park is one such example of the governments commitment.

Senator Mushahidullah Khan urged the private sector to join governments such efforts and invest in clean energy projects in the country. “This will not only help check environmental degradation, control air pollution and prove sustainable source of energy for industrial and other economic sectors,” he argued.

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