Iran can help resolve Pakistan energy crisis: Analyst

Islamabad, Oct 20, IRNA -- Iran being a close neighbor of Pakistan and having vast energy resources can help the country to overcome its energy crisis by supplying natural gas, electricity and renewable energy.

Pakistan is currently facing severe energy issues and the government is making efforts to cope with the energy crisis in the country.

Analysts say Pakistan should set a target of generating at least 30 per cent of its electricity on the basis of renewable energy in the next five to seven years as this is the only way to tackle the power crisis.

Renewable energy is the energy collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat.

Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Amjad Ali Awan stated Pakistan has to increase its reliance on renewable energy for power generation as at present, indigenous resources of natural gas account for 24 per cent electricity produced in the country; and soon, an alternative has to replace this source in view of fast depleting gas resources.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas and developing countries, where energy is often crucial in human development.

Renewable energy systems are rapidly becoming more efficient and cheaper. Their share of total energy consumption is increasing.

In 2010, the Iranian government announced plans to build 2,000MW of renewable energy capacity between 2010-2015. As of 2010, Iran had 8,500MW of hydroelectric capacity and 130MW of wind energy capacity. As at 2010, private companies had signed contracts to build more than 600MW of biomass systems and 500MW of new wind energy projects.

Iran is also working to make renewable energy commercially viable and the Ministry of Energy is required to buy privately produced renewable energy at world market prices. A feed-in-tariff (FiT) for wind and biomass energy around 13 cents/kWh is helpful.

In 2012, Iran allocated €500 million from the National Development Fund for renewable energy projects. Also supporting the solar industry is the state-sponsored Renewable Energy Organization of Iran (SUNA), which is attached to the Energy Ministry and enjoys a budget of around $60 million.

At present 57 countries of the world have been aiming for 100 per cent power generation on basis of renewable energy in the near future as there are countries like Germany and Denmark, which have been generating over 60 per cent of their electricity on the basis of alternative resources of power.

Experts say there is no other way for Pakistan other than to move forward in the arena of renewable energy with consistent, long-term, and concrete policies that define clear and high targets to be achieved by prospective investors from within and outside the country.

Pakistan and Iran have also signed Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. The IP project was to be implemented under segmented approach which means that Iran had to lay down the pipeline on its side and Pakistan had to build the pipeline in its territory.

The project was to be completed by December 2014 and come on stream from January 1, 2015. Under the penalty clause it was agreed by both sides that if Pakistan fails to have intake of Iranian gas from January 1, 2015, it will have to pay $01 million per day as penalty.

Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost has stated that the Pak-Iran gas pipeline will help to resolve energy crisis of Pakistan at cheaper rates. He also said that Iran will also provide 3,000 megawatts of electricity to Pakistan at low price.

Earlier Pakistan Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ghulam Sarwar Khan had said Pakistan is fully committed to implement Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project without any foreign pressure.

*Shiraz Asghar is IRNA's correspondent in Islamabad.

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