Utilisation of indigenous resources key to solving energy crisis: Minister

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“We should focus on all the energy resources that can be produced on our land,” said Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Masood Malik while taking to Gwadar Pro, adding that utilisation of indigenous resources is the key to solving Pakistan’s energy crisis over the long haul.

According to Gwadar Pro, Pakistan’s energy sector is again hanging in balance due to inefficiencies, burgeoning circular debt, massive dependence on imported fossil fuels, and the rise in global fuel prices. It’s not the first time that Pakistan was stuck in an energy crisis.

What is worse, it is facing high power shortages after the demands owing to the summer months have increased rapidly as compared with the total electricity generation.

“Energy security is essential because the kind of disruption we have seen is a potential threat to our economic well-being. Exploration of the more indigenous and renewable resources is the key to energy security,” pinpointed Pakistan Economic Survey 2021-22.

Responding to this, the minister said, “The problem we are facing in Pakistan at the moment is that we have to import fuel on which most of our power plants run. This import puts a heavy burden on our treasury, on our external sector, and also on the rupee which depreciates.”

That is why the government is considering a fundamental transformation of the energy system to achieve sustainable development. That remains to be tested, though.

As per the Survey, historically Pakistan’s economic growth is constrained by bottlenecks in the energy sector. Pakistan’s energy requirements are increasing and demand for energy in the coming decades will rise substantially.

Energy demand on this scale will put increasing pressure on energy resources and distribution networks. This is unsustainable without a fundamental transformation of the energy system. Dependency on the dominant fossil energy resources, especially oil is risky.

The minister noted that the government has been endeavoring to bring in transformational changes in power system by exploring alternate sources of energy in the country. Government is also focusing on renewable sources of energy to make access to energy affordable.

The exploration of alternate and renewable sources of energy will also help ensure energy security and sustainability, he added.

For example, consumers are using solar panels on a small scale without the support of the government, which should allocate funds out of the subsidy allocation in the budget.

Therefore, Musadik Masood Malik explained, the PM constituted a task force on solar energy initiatives with a vision to promote sustainable and green energy. Members of the task force included officials from different ministries and departments.

Under the initiative, the government is working on a comprehensive solar energy package comprising tax waivers and concessionary loans for consumers in a bid to overcome the prolonged power outages that have stalled life in the country.

The solar package will also include a short-term plan for shifting government offices to solar energy. It involves preparation of a plan for helping small consumers switch over to solar energy with the help of subsidy or concessionary loans.

“If solar is installed on every roof, those who suffer from heat and load shedding can generate their own electricity at least for the whole day; and if some surplus electricity is generated, they can sell it to the grid,” Musadik Masood Malik further suggested.

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