Speakers urge for renewable energy projects under CPEC

KARACHI: Economists, experts and academia have urged the government to focus more on renewable energy projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which had less emphasis on RE projects.

State Bank of Pakistan’s Director SME, Housing and Sustainable Financing Dr Mian Farooque Haq said that despite less than one percent share in greenhouse gas emissions, one-third of Pakistan came under flood waters due to climate change.

He was addressing the “Green Financing, CPEC and Industry” session of the 2nd International Conference on CPEC, organised by the Economics and Management Sciences Department (EMD) at NED University.

Haq said that the SBP had issued voluntary Green Banking Guidelines in 2017, and was going to engage two banks; one small and another major bank for the implementation of the Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) framework to make them model banks. Later on, other banks would also replicate it. He said SBP has initiated green taxonomy, which would be a milestone in the banking industry of Pakistan.

Under renewable energy financing through commercial banks, 2,300 RE projects of 1,600MW were underway, but this financing was also available to individual consumers at a discounted rate of 6 percent. He said the country was facing macroeconomic challenges and invited solutions from the organisers for implementation.

Younus Energy Limited CEO Abdul Sattar Jumani said that the local population has benefited from the development of the Jhimpir wind corridor. Wind mill companies employ the local populace and also provide them with solar panels for electrification.

Petroleum Institute of Pakistan CEO Shehryar Omar said Pakistan’s peak energy demand in winter was 12,000MW, which increased to 30,000MW because of air conditioning only. “CNG was a huge mistake and there would not be any indigenous gas in 8 to 10 years.” Any pipeline gas import would not work as well, as it happened in the case of Europe, he added.

Indus Consortium CEO and co-organiser of the session, Hussain Jarwar, said despite a passage of four months since the monsoon rains, 3 to 4 feet of water was still standing in several areas of Sindh, whereas 75,000 pregnant women, who did not contribute to greenhouse gases, suffered during the floods and were still standing in flood relief camps.

Just before the monsoon, there was a water shortage of up to 70 percent in the province. “There will be either floods or droughts under climate change,” Jarwar added. Mirza Faizan Ahmed, a research associate at the NED University, presenting findings on “In-depth analysis of GBG” said that 18 commercial banks out of 33 commercial banks had taken some initiative to follow the GBGs.

He said around 21 projects in CPEC were energy focused with 5,000MW projects based on coal. “The government may need to align CPEC projects towards green financing,” he recommended. Dr Raza Ali Khan, chairman, Economics and Management Sciences Department, NED presented a vote of thanks. Fiza Naz moderated the session.