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Policy Makers' Forum
UN ESCAP/APCTT Policy Makers Forum on "Policy Analysis, Formulation and Development of Policy Instruments for Promoting Renewable Energy Technology Transfer and Adoption" Organized by the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asian and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Republic of the Philippines was held on 23-24 July 2012 in Manila, Philippines, in which Dr. Mohammad Bilal Khan, Principal CES participated on behalf of NUST and Pakistan and presented a paper titled “ Renewable Energy Policy Incentives and Issues ” APCTT is an institution cooperation mechanism that has been setup in accordance with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) resolution 64/3 of 30 April 2008 on promoting renewables for energy security and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. 15 member countries of the region are participating in the network, including Pakistan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Iran, Srilanka, Philippines, etc.

Among the various strategic interventions comprising access to relevant technology, promoting technology transfer and innovation for business, building technology capacity, effective policy analysis and development of policy instrument for promoting renewable technology transfer and adoption, figured out as the driving theme of intervention in this year ESCAP forum. The program comprised of desk/case studies and country presentations. The status of renewable energy development, government policy, barriers/challenges, land mark laws and strategic interventions along with the way forward were presented by the various country representatives. The push to restructure Pakistan’s power sector first began in the mid-1980s when countrywide power shortages crippled the nation. In order to address the energy crisis, the government of Pakistan instituted its first private power policy in 1985. This policy was aimed at attracting private investors to the power sector. Prior to its implementation, power generation in Pakistan was a monopoly, exclusively state-owned and operated. New energy policies were also instituted in 1994, 1998 and 2002. The 2002 Power Policy, currently still in place, encouraged the use of local resources including renewable energy resources (Environmental Protection Department
2007). This policy aimed to develop approximately 500 MW of renewable (non-hydel) power generation by 2015 and about 1000 MW by 2020. The policies enacted by the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) were cited in the paper namely:
  • Implement policies, programs and projects through private sector in the field of Alternative Energy
  • Assist and facilitate development and generation of Alternative Energy to achieve sustainable economic growth
  • Encourage transfer of technology and develop indigenous manufacturing base for AE Technology
  • Promote provision of energy services that are based on Alternative energy resources
  • Undertake RE projects on commercial scale
It is an established fact that environment has no boundaries and all countries should participate equally for the remediation of documented environmental damages. Pakistan is facing some challenges of extra ordinary impact on social and economic life of the people of Pakistan. We are trying to put our best efforts to stand shoulder to shoulder with the international community to meet the challenges for the better human life at this PLANET. We admit that the progress in renewable energy development is slow in Pakistan. Why? Some of the primary reasons were also cited, such as:
  • Renewable energy equipment still expensive despite government incentives such as abolition of taxes for solar panels and related equipment. Local production of renewable energy equipment could not be established (Foreign investment vs. domestic manufacturing base)
  • Low investment in research and poor indigenization of technology to exploiting renewable energy potential
  • International donors were reluctant to fund large-scale renewable energy projects due to circular debts in Pakistan
  • Pakistan has massive unexploited renewable energy sources, particularly hydroelectric and solar, which can help to meet widening energy deficit and improve livelihoods, the reported drawbacks are political instability, inadequate budgetary allocations
  • Environmental concerns and issues around resettlement and rehabilitation, land acquisition, lengthy approval procedures, inter-state issues and law and order problems were among factors inhibiting to achieve the targets in renewable energy development
  • Lack of effective Federal and Provincial coordination
  • Unrealistic foreign investment incentives
  • Bidding as a loop hole in ARE
  • Solar energy was hampered by poor integration of techno-economic and socio-political aspects and inconsistent government policies, although being ideal for the remote areas of Balochistan, Cholistan and Thar desert where grid connectivity is difficult
  • Carbon credits filing too late for actualizing revenue

How to meet these challenges?
  • Transparency; trust building; local manufacturing
  • University-Industry-Government triple helix can be established to run the projects of vital importance
  • Universities should provide space/land to setup pilot demonstration
  • NUST is already accommodating pilot scale industrial production of biofuels throughphoto-bioreactors and energy crops
  • NUST is beaming through local TV channels to create awareness about renewableenergy in Pakistan
Overwhelming emphasis was laid on the fact that Pakistan must go for indigenous manufacturing of renewable energy equipment to make it affordable and sustainable. NUST’s effort in this regard were highlighted wherein designing, construction and operation of a photo-bioreactor and a more efficient oil expeller was successfully carried out. The forum concluded with the resolve that the ESCAP/APCTT will hold the next meeting in Islamabad.