Winds blowing in right direction

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Inam ur Rahman
CEO, Dawood Hercules Co. Ltd.

Yesterday, the electricity regulator NEPRA (National Electric Power Regulatory Authority) held its latest hearing for tariff determination for Wind IPPs in Pakistan. I was extremely enthused by the number of people who turned up for the hearing as well as the level of participation. It was another demonstration of the belief that investors have in Pakistan and in renewable energy. There was also a lot of passion shown by all stakeholders – even the ones representing other government departments.

For the record, NEPRA had called this hearing to obtain public views on their proposal to bring the tariff from wind projects down to about 8.2 cents per KwH. This is a significant reduction from 10.44 cents (around 20%) announced just a year ago. This is also important because now energy from Wind would be one of the cheapest sources for new projects in the country. Isn’t this fantastic!. Not only is it renewable – but it is cheap too. No more highly polluting conventional power plants are needed.

 We can now start to look towards a cleaner future for our children. At the same time we need to push the government to adopt these technologies quicker. It was mentioned that India has more than 24,000 MW of wind generation only. All of this has been put in the last few years. Pakistan has about 21,000MW of total capacity built in last 70 years and just 400 MW on Wind. We are being left far behind very rapidly.

True there are so called challenges in the widespread adoption of renewables in our country. Often disguised as ‘technical’ or ‘financial’, I find that these are mostly challenges of ignorance and vested interests. Its also not unusual for people to dismiss new ideas especially when these conflict with their own beliefs or their commercial interests. This has been happening for ages across all industries. Yet sooner rather than later, new and improved technologies prevail and companies that refuse to change die out quickly. Take Kodak for example. It did not take digital cameras seriously because these challenged their film business. They used to argue that digital cameras would never be as good as film. Guess what – the consumer did not care. The result – Kodak has now been almost completely wiped out. The same will happen to these polluting thermal plants that burn preciously dwindling natural resources. Its simply a matter of a few years.

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