Pakistan to import green technologies

London: Pakistan’s research on renewable energy has been severely hit by a lack of funds, experts say, forcing it to look abroad to import green technologies, The Guardian newspaper reported.

The country will aim to boost technology transfer from China & Germany for solar panels and wind turbines, attract more investment for research and development (R&D), according to its five-year policy on renewable energy, which will be launched in August by the Alternative Energy Development Board.

Pakistan already has plans to generate 2,300MW of electricity from solar and wind sources under an agreement signed in December last year with China’s Wind Electric. But some experts say that importing technology is only a short-term fix and government should invest more in developing local technologies. “The funding in renewable energy technology research by the government is close to nothing,” said Masood Ahmed, head Sustainable Development Research Centre at Z. A. Bhutto Institute of Science & Technology. There is “serious need” for government funding to tap country’s huge potential in the sector and “resolve deepening power crisis in Pakistan”, he said.

Main power resources in Pakistan are oil and gas, but reserves of both are expected to have run out by 2030, according to state-owned Oil and Gas Development Company, and the country already faces an energy shortfall. “Previous and present governments have shown they are only interested in short-term solutions to present energy crisis, as reflected in mere imports of renewable energy technology,” said Ahmed.

Pakistan’s universities have run pilot projects in areas such as fuel cells, biodiesel, ethanol fuel, innovative lighting systems, fuel cells for vehicles and biogas. But they lack funds to continue their research and roll out technologies, says Arshad Abbasi, water & energy advisor at Sustainable Development Policy Institute SDPI.

The new policy will set a target of generating five per cent of Pakistan’s total commercial energy from alternative and renewable energy sources by 2030. It will offer financial incentives for projects including a manufacturing base for renewable energy plants, components, and seek to develop infrastructure for renewable energy programs with help from Asian Development Bank & USAID.

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