Capitalizing Potential of CPEC Crucial for Expanding Clean Energy: Experts

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Leveraging time-tested diplomatic ties with China can mobilize the much-needed investment for expanding affordable and clean energy access in Pakistan, stressed Chinese and Pakistani experts, at a seminar titled “High-Level Symposium on “Renewable Energy Collaboration under CPEC: A Diplomatic Discourse”. The seminar was organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and the Pakistan-China Institute.

Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, remarked that the climate crisis amplified by the consistent use of dirty fuels impacts the global community without any distinction of geography and economic conditions. While countries are responding to the climate crisis by embarking on renewable energy transition, the energy inflation emanating from the Russia-Ukraine conflict manifests itself at the domestic level in the form of energy price hikes and disgruntled masses as witnessed currently in Pakistan. He said that a theft of 6.1 million units of electricity has been detected recently and Pakistan must bank on China’s expertise in promoting clean and green energy initiatives with doable and practical solutions.

Dr Hassan Daud Butt, Research Fellow, SDPI, highlighted that BRI has already generated $1 trillion worth of economic activity. He said that under BRI, Pakistan was proposed as a test case for expanding the country’s energy portfolio, with a goal to achieve 30 percent growth in the renewable energy sector by 2030. The government should proactively present proposals to China, creating a conducive policy environment for renewable energy promotion, he urged. He stressed the need for pragmatic approaches, policy resilience, and making CPEC a launching pad for large-scale clean and green energy initiatives.

Xiao Pang, Senior Specialist, BRI International Green Development Coalition, stressed leveraging CPEC to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and substantially reduce carbon emissions. He emphasized pre-feasibility analysis to attract investors, capacity-building initiatives, and forming a coalition of experts dedicated to advancing green initiatives.

Dr Liaqat Ali Shah, Executive Director, CPEC Centre of Excellence, stressed the need for building institutional capacity, and policy integration, by aligning industry and energy policies with green industrial policies. He emphasized that the focus on renewable energy should extend beyond generation to energy conservation and efficiency, pointing out that outdated facilities can lead to increased costs.

Taimur Adil, Founding Partner of Impetus Advisory, stressed exploring financial mechanisms such as private equity for green energy projects and tapping the investment potential in the Gulf region. He urged for enhancing the capacity of government departments, particularly through the use of metrics and dashboards to identify bottlenecks and streamline energy development efforts.

Dr Khalid Waleed, Research Fellow SDPI, addressing affordability crises, advocated for energy transition solutions including establishing JETPS to mobilize finance. He urged for investment in transmission systems over generation and strengthening regional and bilateral diplomatic ties. He also highlighted the potential for China to shift manufacturing to Pakistan, China, with its abundant capital resources, could benefit from utilizing Pakistan’s labor-intensive workforce, creating a mutually advantageous trade relationship.

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