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    'Integration in energy sector can save $9bn for S Asia'


    December 7, 2022 - The News International

     

      World Bank's Director of Integration for South Asia Cecile Fruman said Tuesday South Asia could save $9 billion if regional integration in energy sector was implemented.

      She said the WB could not provide a guarantee on the pattern of Indus Waters Treaty for protecting regional integration projects in different sectors of the economy. 'The state of electricity in South Asia is not up to the mark as 250 million population is living without having access to electricity. The electricity demand will go double within a decade,' WB Director for South Asia Integration said while addressing the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in a conference.

      She said the electricity market would help foster the required growth rate as 50 million jobs would be created in South Asia by 2030.

      Dr Musadik Malik, Minister of State for Petroleum, said the government was committed to completing the CASA-1000 and other clean energy projects as this would help save the future of next generation.

      He was speaking at a panel discussion on 'Energy Corridors: CASA 1000' on the second day of 25th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). The 4-day conference is being held in Islamabad from 5-8 December 2022.

      He said this year or by the next year, the government had a plan to add 10,000 MW of solar energy to the national grid, which would help achieve target of 30pc renewable energy share by 2030. He said if Pakistan's annual GDP grows by 5-6pc, its annual energy demand would increase by 10-12pc.

      He expressed disappointment over the lukewarm response of the IFIs and development partners to developing countries' call of financing mega clean energy projects. He regretted that projects like CASA-1000 and TAPI were facing delays because these projects pass through countries that were not financeable.

      Cecile Fruman pointed out that with over 215 million people living without access to electricity in South Asia, the energy demand was growing at a fast pace and it would double in a decade.

      She said the region was highly dependent (80pc) on fossil fuels in South and Central Asia and 63pc of the region's greenhouse gas emissions were due to electricity production. 'But, the good news is that this region has tremendous renewable energy potential which needs to be tapped,' she said.

      She said Pakistan had strong resources in terms of wind, biogas, solar and hydropower-based clean energy. She said regional connectivity would provide a win-win situation for all to meet the growing energy needs. She said CASA-1000 energy project had been designed to supply 1,300MW of clean energy from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      She said 85pc of work on CASA-1000 energy project had been completed in Tajikistan, 55pc in Kyrgyzstan, 60pc in Pakistan and only 20pc in Afghanistan. She said this programme was currently on pause due to the situation in Afghanistan. 'But, we hope continued support from Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan would help continue this programme.' Keeping in view substantial benefits of the project, she feared if it was not implemented, there would be a loss of over one trillion dollars that would not be desired by anyone.

      Dr Ghulam Samad, Senior Adviser and Research Fellow, Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Programme (CAREC), said the biggest implementation challenge for cross borders energy projects like CASA-1000 was security situation not only in Afghanistan but also on the border areas of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. He said the total cost of CASA project stood at $1.2 billion and it was a win-win project for all the stakeholders.

      Hassan Daud Butt, former chairman of KP Board of Investment, said 'China likes rich and stable neighbourhoods and that a strong and prosperous Pakistan is in the interest of China and other regional countries.'

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