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Pakistan

Dr. Bilal Zuberi, VP of Product Development,  GEO2 Technologies, who was born and raised in Pakistan and who attended college in the U.S. writes about Pakistan’s energy challenges

“There is a severe energy shortage in Pakistan, esp in the urban areas, and most parts of the country are experiencing heavy load sheddings, i.e. periods with no electric power, designed to distribute load and conserve energy. Karachi, the major port city and industrial hub, is experiencing nearly 110 degree weather with 10-12 hours of load shedding a day in some parts. The situation has turned bleak, and even the more skeptical are re-assessing their opinion on renewable, distributed, and localized energy generation for Pakistan major population centers.

… The biggest impediments, of course, remain rather similar to many other developing countries: lack of technological resources, lack of government incentives and support, mistrust of the financial sector for long term financing, inadequate infrastructure (grid quality, transportation, service & maintenance), and a centralized – somewhat corrupt – system of ownership of utilities. It is no wonder that even when utility industry was deregulated, the only thing the population learned about the process was how contracts were awarded to foreign firms without proper financial due diligence. Today, despite the utmost need for entrepreneurial activity in this critical sector for the country, people are scared to enter it fearing the corporate and political behemoths that roam the territories.

… While renewables will not provide the full answer to Pakistan’s energy crisis in the short term, a strong and committed push (and not just lip service to appear enlightened and informed about the direction world is taking) will set the right foot forward for the country’s future. There is no reason why we cannot derive as much or more energy from solar concentrators, tidal waves, and wind farms than we already do from natural gas power plants and large hydro-electric dams.

… But the government will need to systematically remove blockages that have kept the real geniuses away from this industry. Financing/investing, funding, tax/rebate incentives, infrastructure upgrade, and energy buy-back contracts from independent energy providers on the national grid are among some of the things that government can do to promote energy entrepreneurship. The government, having managed energy in the country for so long via a centralized organization (WAPDA), must understand that energy production is a long-term play and any changes to the energy policy can have major ramifications for the investors who may put up their money (and time) into building out an infrastructure.

… The electricity crisis in Karachi, and the rise in the demand of gas-fuel electric generators has shown that the people are fed up with the system as it is is, and are willing to put their money where the mouth (need) is.

Source: Zuberi, Bilal. “Renewable Energy and Pakistan.”http://bznotes.wordpress.com/2007/06/25/renewable-energy-for-pakistan-way-forward/

 

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