Home Latest News Sharif Backs Renewable Energy to Cut Pakistan’s Oil Import Bill

Sharif Backs Renewable Energy to Cut Pakistan’s Oil Import Bill

Prime minister orders ‘drastic measures’ to reduce electricity tariffs for consumers

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy PID

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday directed authorities concerned to focus on utilizing renewable energy to reduce the country’s $27 billion oil import bill, and stressed on improving the existing electricity distribution system to protect investments in the sector.

“Ultimately, we have to move to renewable energy,” he told a meeting organized to review the power sector’s performance. “The oil import worth billions of dollars can be controlled by using alternative resources like solar, wind and hydel. Make cold calculations and, I believe, you will be the winner in the long term,” he added.

Noting renewable energy could rid the country of a reliance on the crude oil tanker mafia, he said the country currently imports $27 billion of oil annually to meet its power and transportation needs. This sum, he stressed, could be significantly reduced by transitioning to alternative energy sources.

On the government’s ongoing drive against power theft, he appreciated the Punjab government’s efforts and hoped other provinces would similarly overcome the challenge. “Strengthening the country’s power transmission system requires utmost efforts and investment otherwise the power production and investments in the sector would go down the drain unless the flaws in the transmission network are removed,” he said and urged the energy ministry to engage globally renowned consultants to devise means to improve the power transmission system.

In a separate meeting on electricity tariffs, he instructed officials concerned to take drastic measures to reduce the cost of per unit of electricity to benefit the public. This, he suggested, could include utilizing local coal; improving the power supply system; setting up cost-effective and renewable energy plants; and implementing solar power projects. “In future, only clean, cost effective and renewable power plants should be set up in the country,” he added.

The meeting was informed of a 600MW solar power project currently underway, with Sharif directing authorities to expedite work on securing foreign investment for it. He also called for expediting the auctioning of power plants currently dysfunctional.

According to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, the meeting was informed about the existing power generation capability, supply system and the government’s proposals, as well as the future power demand and supply in the country.

Officials said shifting to local coal for coal-powered plants would save foreign exchange and reduce costs by Rs. 2/unit for consumers.

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