Economics & Business

Alternative forms of energy becoming more cost-competitive: PEW

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said that alternative forms of energy are becoming more cost-competitive with conventional fuels therefore government should accelerate the pace of its development. Energy crisis is greatest bottleneck in the supply of resources to our economy; it is biggest problem than terrorism, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that some areas will have to brave 23-hour load shedding by 2020 if development of energy resources was not given proper attention. He said that industrial development, commercial activities, population growth and inefficiency are main causes for the crisis while the rising costs of fossil fuels coupled with volatility has made alternatives more attractive.

Moreover, construction costs of oil, gas, coal and nuclear power plants have jumped by 80 per cent in five years which calls for investing in renewable energy, he said adding that we need to realise that economics of traditional fuels are changing.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that gap is closing between price of fossil fuels and alternatives, and later will not be considered an expensive option in the days to come. He said that globally over 1.7 billion people have no access to power; over 170 million people in Southeast Asia are un-electrified with majority having no chance to get grid connectivity in their lifetime.

These rural people are barred from benefits of electricity and stopped from Mechanization of farms for greater productivity which keep them poor. Lauding the move by AEDB and FFC Energy to explore wind power projects he said that Pakistan’s government and private sector needs to explore more wind corridors, complete projects in pipeline and also consider utilising exceptional level or irradiation available throughout the country.

Government as well as business community needs to introduce green hotels, cars, heaters, notebooks, motorcycles and lighting systems. Those investing in alternative energy should be given maximum benefits and tax breaks and there should be no policy ambiguity, he demanded.

“We urgently need a master plan for rural electrification through renewable energy” Dr. Mughal demanded. Private sector should also be encouraged to invest in such a program. Such transitional steps will also help us fight climate change for which help of international lending institutions is imperative, he said.

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Haroon Akram Gill

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