While many developing nations have already given priority to renewable energy and storage sector, experts have urged the federal government to consider at least establishing a division to fully utilize the immense potential in this field which will transform in near future.
With realization of the potential that energy storage industry has for maximum utilisations of abundantly available solar and wind resources for energy generation, many developed and developing nations have geared up the efforts to protect investment and human resource in storage industry while guiding it to new horizons where research and development has become centerpiece of industry development.
Pakistan aims at achieving around 30% of its total on-grid electricity supply from renewables (excluding large hydropower) by 2030. Pakistan’s total installed power capacity stood at 34 GW as on June 30, 2018 of which 4.2 % was renewable energy. However, well thought and long term approach is missing to enhance the contribution of renewable energy and its storage in Pakistan to avoid the destabilisation of the grid and use of renewable energy when wind/solar is not available. The storage/battery industry in Pakistan is still confined to make batteries for only automotive needs as electricity storage concept is not being promoted and attracted by the policy makers.
“Batteries would be a vital component to keep energy mix dominated by renewables resources. The government requires to put in more conscious efforts by making long term policy enabling the storage/battery industry players to invest in this segment. This investment can be ensured by providing level playing field by uniform taxation rate and its enforcement on all the players (both organised/unorganised/importers) and strict control on smuggled items abundantly available in the market,” said Muhammad Aqil an expert on renewable energy.
He added that establishment of a separate ministry/ division for Renewables and Storage Batteries is the need of the hour. This has happened in countries like France, India and Iran.
“This initiative will become a foundation for organizing and aligning national efforts towards minimizing the burden of the import of fuel oil by spending foreign exchange,” he said adding that the establishment of a separate ministry would also help in achieving national de-carbonization goals.
It is to be noted that local battery industry is currently generating Rs. 12.5 billion revenue to the national exchequer and provides livelihood to nearly 100,000 people. However, the industry at present is victim of tax evasion and malpractices by some of the battery producers instead of focusing on innovations in storage industry to cope with the present need of renewable energy.