US valuable partner in Pakistan’s energy sector: Khawaja Asif

PakistanUS valuable partner in Pakistan's energy sector: Khawaja Asif

WASHINGTON: The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is making all efforts to plug the energy deficit to boost industrial production, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Mohammad Asif said on Tuesday, describing the United States as a valuable partner in the energy sector.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a two-day Pakistan-US conference on energy, he jointly inaugurated along with the

Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Minister for Power said that the main focus of the government is to plug the energy deficit, using sources that were climate friendly.

He said about 3,000 to 4,000 megawatts were expected to be added to the national grid in the coming two years, using solar and wind projects.

Similarly, he said, that Pakistan would have upto 4,000 MW generated through hydel resources by 2019-20. About 3,000 MW would come into the national grid by 2018, he added.

He said the focus of the conference, being organized by USAID, is on opportunities in Pakistan’s clean energy sector.

Khawaja Asif lauded the valuable contribution of the USAID in Pakistan’s energy sector in addition to assisting in infrastructure projects. The conference has attracted US investors as well as experts and investors from Pakistan’s private sector and is being attended by Pakistani and US government officials.

Responding to a question, the Minister for Water and Power said there had been substantial achievements in the hydel sector.

When the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took over, there was a choice between Dasu and Diamir Bhasha “to do either Dasu or Bhasha,” he said but added that because of the efforts of the government, both projects were on active list.

Due to the intervention of the US government and WAPDA, first phase of DASU was fully financed and the interest has also been generated for Diamir Bhasha dam.

With regard to Bhasha dam, he said Pakistan’s government will have to take initiative that will help attract funding from international investors.

Lauding the role of the United States in Pakistan’s economic development, he said that the recent visit by the Prime Minister to the United States has further strengthen the dimension of economic relationship.

Earlier, in his remarks, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani said that the conference is taking place at a time of good relations between Pakistan and the United States.

He said that relations between the two countries on a very positive trajectory and the development taken place in the last couple of years offers hope of further solidifying these relationship.

The ambassador said that the presence of two senior ministers demonstrates the seriousness of the Pakistan government in pursuing energy sector development.

He highly appreciated the role of the US government for the extending the excellent cooperation to Pakistan in this important areas. Because of this cooperation, 1,200 MW of electricity has been added to the national grid, he added.

He said the conference followed a similar conference for Diamir Basha last year, which helped raised investors’ interest. He hoped that this year’s conference will be another step forward in efforts to further cement relations between the two countries.

The ambassador particularly mentioned about the priorities of the government which, he added, were focused in four areas including extremism, economic revival, energy sector and education.

The ambassador said that backbone of terrorism has been broken in Pakistan and the menace would soon be eliminated from the country.

On Economic revival, he said, that the country has made remarkable progress duly acknowledged by the international agencies, and added that all economic indicators were now positive.

The two-day conference is part of the U.S.-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership, launched early this year, which seeks to advance energy sector reforms, improve Pakistan’s investment framework, and ultimately add 3,000 megawatts of clean energy by 2019.

The conference will support significant new private sector investments in Pakistan in clean energy generation, transmission, and distribution.

Since 2009, the United States and Pakistan have established intense cooperation on energy, coordinated through the Energy Working Group under the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

Recognizing the critical importance of increasing energy security and access in a clean, sustainable manner, the United States has committed more than $1 billion to date to support energy sector investments and reforms in cooperation with the Government of Pakistan.

Source: APP

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