HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WORKSHOP “Options for an Energy Mix: Issues of Cost and Sustainability” from 26-28 June 2018

The core mandate of COMSTECH is to strengthen cooperation among OIC Member States in science and technology (S&T), and to enhance their capabilities through training in emerging areas. As part of the capacity building program, COMSTECH organized a three day International Workshop on “Options for an Energy Mix: Issues of Cost and Sustainability” from 26-28 June 2018.
 
Former Planning Commission deputy Chief Sartaj Aziz was invited as a chief guest. He said that the country is in a power crisis because it lacks cost-efficient energy production options. He traced the origins of Pakistan’s energy crisis to a policy of encouraging independent power producers (IPPs) after 1994. He said that these IPPs operated on expensive imported furnace oil. “The cost of power generation went up to 16 cents per unit, while the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) was selling electricity at 8-9 cents. The huge subsidy that was payable to the IPPs could not be paid in time leading to a huge circular debt and long hours of load-shedding,”
 
COMSTECH Coordinator General Dr Shaukat Hameed Khan presented a comprehensive and broad-ranging review of the global energy transition, highlighting the initiatives to decrease reliance on conventional sources of power by including various renewable sources as part of the energy mix. He also doused hopes of renewable energy advocates by identifying various real and hidden costs of different renewable technologies and observed that a complete reliance on renewable energy did not appear as a technical or economic possibility in the near future. “Fossil fuels are not going away anywhere soon and there is no single solution to combat the effects of climate change,” Dr Shaukat said.
 
Resource persons and participants from Malaysia, Turkey, Australia, Germany, Nigeria, Uganda, Bangladesh and China contributed in the workshop and shared their practices in the field of Renewable Energy (RE) technologies. 
 
Dr. Kamaruzzaman Sopian from Solar Energy Research Institute (UKM), Malaysia shared his research on solar cell efficiencies and the silicon solar value chain. He also emphasized on the manufacturing process of solar cells to be more environment friendly as the conventional process uses toxic materials. He also shared how Malaysia has made reforms to promote Renewable Energy and increase the share of RE in the national grid for carbon neutral power generation in future. It was evident from his presentation, how the share of RE was increasing in their energy mix.
 
Dr. Abdülkadir BALIKÇI from Marmara Energy Institute, Tubitak, Turkey shared the list of R&D projects that have been executed under his institute. Marmara Energy Institute is engaged in R&D for developing technologies in fields of biofuels, solar heating/cooling, wind turbine manufacturing, materials for solar PV, and energy storage devices. Many pilot scale projects are operational and in next phase, they aim to deploy commercial scale plants. He shared that his institute is also engaged in developing solutions for the Renewable Energy Industry in Turkey, and closely working with manufacturers, EPC contractors and construction companies.
 
Mr. Peter Rae, President, World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) shared the global trends in the wind power industry. He emphasised on regional collaborations and development of new technologies for cost competiveness of Renewable Energy technologies. He added, the comparison of levelized cost at present shows that, RE technologies will lead power generation for green and cheap electricity. He acknowledged the work of wind power industry in Pakistan and announced that the next annual conference of WWEA will be held in Pakistan by the end of this year. 
 
Ms. Umarah Mubeen, Max Planck Institute, Germany shared her research work in the field of Bio Fuels. She presented the comparison of different algae based biofuels that can be used for power generation and transport fuel.
 
Mr. Kenneth Muhwezi, Managing Director, Solar Today Uganda Ltd shared the community based success stories of small solar home systems in Uganda. He explained the business model of community based systems which is the most popular and practical solution for remote areas. Pay As You Go (PAYG) model is practically implemented across more than 20 African countries.
 
Mr. Khondokar Habibul Kabir from Islamic University of Technology, Bangladesh talked about the solar home system industry in Bangladesh. According to the stats, Bangladesh ranked first in terms of installations of small solar home systems in OIC member countries. Bangladesh alone installed more than 5.2 million solar home systems last year 2017.
 
Mr. Zhang Zhenhua, Chairman, CNNC, China, talked about the modular type nuclear reactors. He added, apart from power generation such small scale nuclear reactors can also be used for water desalination, industrial process steam etc.
Local speakers also participated in the workshop from different organizations including Ministry of Climate Change, AEDB, SECMC, HDIP, Descon Engineering, NEECA, GCISC, Planning Commission, PAEC, PNRA, NEPRA, NUST Energy Centre, UNIDO, Nizam Energy, AKRSP, and NRSP. They shared the best practices and suggested the way forward for promotion of RE technologies. 
 
Students from NUST Energy Centre presented their MS thesis posters to showcase the advanced research being carried out at NUST. Their posters mainly focused on energy storage, fuel cells, integrated energy modelling, green buildings, biogas etc.
 
More than 80 local participants from Universities, R&D organizations, Industry and Energy companies attended the workshop. 
Summarizing the workshop explored the issues of cost and sustainability of various energy options, and experts from energy & environment industry shared their experience and knowledge with energy professionals and academics of OIC countries. The workshop focused on the analysis of different RE technologies, institutional policy and frameworks, and levelized costs of various RE technologies. The main suggestions to emerge from the workshop were:
 
to have a sustainable energy mix
to develop strategies for integration of RE Technologies
to develop a greener and sustainable transition to combat climate change
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