ISLAMABAD: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is said to be preparing another ‘attractive’ plan for the officials of power sector entities under a study aimed at enumerating the benefits of integrating larger amounts of intermittent, variable renewable energy (VRE) generation into Pakistan’s national grid, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The “beneficiaries” of USAID’s previous program already occupy senior position in the entities including CPPA-G and are extending full support to the American agency. The officials of Power Division have reportedly been given “special “gifts by UASID to get their “cooperation” on whatever proposals are forwarded for the power sector.

According to a letter written by the USAID/ Pakistan it launched the Sustainable Energy for Pakistan (SEP) project in August 2017 in support of Government of Pakistan’s (GoP) efforts to increase the financially sustainable delivery of clean energy and to attract private investment, spurring economic and social development.

The Agency claims that it’s prime implementing partner, Tetra Tech ES, a US based company, is already operational, supported by Hagler Bailly Pakistan and Advanced Engineering Associates International, Inc. USAID, along with its implementing partners, has developed the program’s initial annual work plan jointly with GoP counterparts, and the agency has held several meetings with key beneficiaries and partners, expected to be National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Central Power Purchase Agency Guarantee Ltd (CPPA-G), National Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), and others. These entities have highlighted the need for a comprehensive, nationwide study to enumerate the benefits of integrating larger amounts of intermittent, Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) generation into Pakistan’s national grid.

The proposed study will be conducted by reputable international experts, cover a wide geographic area, include the full range of renewable energy resources, and assess the technical and financial gains, from doing so. It would also identify the amount of renewable energy power generation that could be integrated into the present grid, and suggest possible alternatives for grid augmentation that would allow the grid to accommodate significantly increased levels of VRE generation and its optimal dispatch.

The agency says that the study will also address viable amounts of renewable energy generation that can be added to Pakistan’s future generation mix, and help the GoP improve the clarity of policies and decisions that may be significant barriers to private investment in this sector.

“We propose that this study be initiated under the supervision of a technical committee led by representative from the Ministry of Energy which would encourage engagement of stakeholders from the public and private sectors and emphasize timely completion of this important undertaking,” the sources quoted USAID in its letter.

Ideally, the committee will include key GoP energy entities (eg, NTDC, CPPA-G, NEPRA, AEDB, PPIB, and provincial agencies), private sector representatives, and donors. The technical committee would participate in defining the SCC of the study, participate in regular meetings with stakeholders and consultants, review study drafts, and provide necessary feedback to the study team to ensure the completion of a quality product.

USAID has proposed documenting its mutual expectations through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Energy (MoE). Under the arrangement, USAID has offered its respective strengths, experiences, methodologies, technologies, and resources to ensure the completion of the best possible product. A draft MoU would be sent separately for consideration and comments for final signature.

The sources said USAID has also sought the names of officials/experts from MoE, NTDC, PPIB CPPA-G, AEDB, and NEPRA as members of the technical committee.—MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN