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Large scale RE projects should be encouraged

Large scale RE projects should be encouraged

Interview with Muhammad Abbas Sajid — former Chairman, Renewable and Alternative Energy Association of Pakistan, Karachi Chapter

PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your organization, please:

Muhammad Abbas Sajid: I graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from the NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, Pakistan in 1983 and studied Business Management at the Joseph M. Katz School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. I am a Registered Professional Engineer with the Pakistan Engineering Council and CEO of a Mechanical Engineering Company in Pakistan by the name of Engineering Services since 1984, dealing in design and installation of Air conditioning, Plumbing, Fire Fighting, Solar Energy and Telecommunication systems.

I am a Past President and senior member of Pakistan HVACR Society and am also the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from Pakistan HVACR Society. I have been a member of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) for more than 20 years and have also served as the Sub Regional Chair (South Asia) for ASHRAE and as a President of the ASHRAE Pakistan Chapter. I currently serve on the Nominating committee and the Honors and Awards Committee of ASHRAE and am the Chair of the Honors and Awards committee for ASHRAE Region at Large. I have been a past Chairman of Renewable and Alternative Energy Association of Pakistan (REAP) Karachi Chapter.

I am the General Secretary of NED International Alumni Network (NEDIAN) Association. I am the General Secretary of CNG Station Owner’s Association of Pakistan, and the General Secretary of Pakistan Society of Plumbing Professionals. I am a senior member of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Member of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce. I am also member of Institution of Engineers Pakistan (IEP). I also serve on the Senate and Industrial Advisory Board of NED University of Engineering & Technology Karachi.

PAGE: Our country needs renewable energy desperately. How would you comment on it?

Muhammad Abbas Sajid: Absolutely there is no other way for Pakistan and the world but to shift towards renewable energy as quickly as possible especially with the current spike in oil prices around the globe. Pakistan should encourage large scale renewable energy projects with banks giving soft loans to the private sector companies to set up IPPs and provide low cost electricity to the private, commercial and industrial sectors. This will also help to provide low cost energy helping in lowering the industrial production costs to help boost exports.

PAGE: Could you tell about the renewable energy sources suitable for Pakistan?

Muhammad Abbas Sajid: The most feasible renewable energy (RE) sources for Pakistan at this time are solar and wind energy. Solar energy can be utilized throughout the country while wind can be utilized in Sindh and Balochistan along our wind corridor which has a huge potential. Of course hydro energy is also very feasible and helps in other ways also for water storage, flood control and irrigation but takes a lot of political will, longer time of construction and the cost is huge. Biomass energy can be used very effectively on a local basis in villages and small towns.

PAGE: How would you describe the wind corridor of Pakistan?

Muhammad Abbas Sajid: Pakistan is blessed with a very long wind corridor extending from west to east of Pakistan through Balochistan and Sindh and there is a huge potential of wind energy. An estimated 350,000MW potential of wind energy production is available in Pakistan. The government should make favourable policies for the setting of wind farms through foreign and local investment along the wind corridor. The main issue with wind energy is evacuation of energy through the grid and more importantly stability of grid to cater for varying loads.

PAGE: What is your take on geothermal energy?

Muhammad Abbas Sajid: Geothermal is another form of commonly used energy resource around the world but care should be taken in selecting the site for this kind of project as usually it is feasible where there is an aquifer available at shallow depths. Most of the time this is not the case in Pakistan and digging deep defeats the purpose of an economical and efficient geothermal system. But this is a technology which may be very useful in certain parts of the country.

PAGE: Is renewable energy the best solution for the entire world at this juncture?

Muhammad Abbas Sajid: With the recent and inevitable rise in oil prices and its dwindling reserves the world has to shift to alternate energy resources which are renewable and will not run out with time. In this respect all the countries of the world have plans to shift to renewable energy resources depending on their geographical locations. Pakistan too should make a workable plan and shift to renewable technologies as early as possible. The Government of Pakistan initiated development of alternate and renewable energy sector under a phased evolutionary approach with an implementation roadmap under policy for Development of Renewable Energy for Power Generation 2006. Another revised policy was also made in 2019 called the ARE Policy 2019 whereby it is proposed that Pakistan produces 20% of its energy through alternative energy resources by 2025 and up to 30% by 2030. If these policies are implemented RE will contribute its share in strengthening and improving the power supply position in the country and help fuel rapid and environmentally sustainable economic growth.

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