In its 2013 manifesto Pakistan, People’s Party promised to provide a tax credit to those low-cost housing schemes that use alternative energy as a primary source of power. Considering that the party is in power in Sindh and the energy sector becoming a provincial subject after 18th Amendment, the performance of PPP can be traced to see how far the party has been able to fulfil this promise in Sindh.
Alternative Energy Potential in Sindh
Sindh province is blessed with a wind corridor, recognized as one of the strongest wind corridors in the region, having average wind speeds of 10 m/s. The corridor and is available for almost 12 months. The corridor is 60km wide (Gharo – Keti Bandar) and more than 180km long (including Thatta, Badin, Jamshoro, Hyderabad, and Tharparkar). This corridor has the potential to produce more than 60,000MW of electricity. Thirty-two IPPs are already executing their wind power generation projects and are at different implementation stages. The government of Sindh has a policy for providing land to such power projects called “Land Grant Policy.” The government of Sindh welcomes all local and foreign investors and power producers to invest and implementation in wind power generation projects.
Sindh province receives an average of about 19 megajoules per square meter of energy throughout the year, which is a high level of solar radiation. The government of Sindh has planned to install concentrated solar thermal and solar photovoltaic based power generation projects.
Solid waste produced by large urban population like Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas is presently dumped, which could instead be utilized to generate methane gas and electricity. The government of Sindh has plans to install municipal solid waste to energy power generation projects in potential cities of Sindh, to utilize agriculture and livestock waste for fuel recovery and electricity generation.
All the above potential and Sindh government’s initiative to produce energy using renewable sources, there is no example of giving a tax credit to housing schemes on using renewable energy.
Shazia Marri, Member National Assembly of Pakistan People’s Party, says that the province can produce 5500-megawatt electricity from renewable energy resources. She also claims that the region was already producing 70 per cent of the gas requirement. She further added that efforts were being made to utilize Sindh’s energy potential to overcome the power shortage in the country. “Jhimpir Wind Corridor is producing 785-megawatt electricity while work is underway on nine other projects of 450 megawatts in Sindh.” Talking about the promise she said that so far no such initiative has been taken.
Faisal Wada, MPA Sindh Assembly from Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf told Truth Tracker that was important for Pakistan to move fast on renewables.
“There is a huge increase in renewable energy in the world as well as the shift to electric vehicles, public transport, and energy efficiency,” he said, adding that it was in Pakistan’s interest to not only be a part of this wave but to use it to its advantage in order to promote growth. He further elaborated saying that: “We need to have now a development strategy that enables us to go fast in a world in which climate change is going to be a central issue that all countries would be addressing.”
The Sindh government he said might be doing something on this front, but so far most of the work is confined to paperwork. “ I have not heard any tax credit given to any housing scheme using alternative energy, said Wada. He said it was a mere promise.
Energy-starved Pakistan, where sunlight is available for up to 10 hours for a better part of the year, particularly in Sindh, Balochistan and southern Punjab, can benefit immensely from solar energy technology, Inam ur Rahman, CEO Reon Energy Limited, said.
“While the potential is for 250,000 megawatts, through prudent policies the country may see about 10,000MW of solar power in the next five years,” he said.
“The government also has to make consumer financing easily available for people to be able to purchase solar solutions similar to car and housing financing. The government should also encourage commercial banks to invest in solar solutions,” he said. So far no government is offering these incentives.
The promise of the PPP stands broken since no low-cost housing scheme has been given the incentive to use alternative energy in return for the tax credit.