‘Issuance of Energy bonds for tech upgradation on the cards’

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: The Managing Director of the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA) Dr Sardar Mohazzam on Friday said that the government was contemplating to release energy-saving certificates and energy conservation bonds to encourage technological up-gradation in the industries.
He made the remarks while speaking at a dialogue on “De-carbonizing Pakistan Cement Sector: Pathways to lever net zero targets” organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) under the auspice of its Network for Clean Energy Transition in Pakistan: Research and Advocacy.
Dr Mohazzam further said that the cement sector held immense potential for de-carbonization and energy efficiency and “we must analyze and take inspiration from policy initiatives being implemented in India and China.”
He reiterated that energy security was a top priority for the government, but pricing remained a pertinent challenge in the uptake of renewable and de-carbonization of hard-to-abate sectors.
The Executive Director, Pakistan Environment Trust (PET) Talha Khan said that the carrot and stick approach would not work, as the government had not announced any tax incentives for the cement sector.
He added that the insignificant foreign investment was not enough to bridge the financing gap needed for the de-carbonization of the sector.
Senior Assistant Manager, Center for Industrial & Building Energy Audits (CIBEA) Syed Fawad Hussain Shah said energy used by Pakistan’s cement sector generates 45% emissions, which was much higher than the global average.
He elucidated that the high carbon intensity of the sector can be traced to 85% coal consumption while the share of biomass and waste-to-energy is merely 0.02%.

He stressed the need for improving public awareness regarding green cement and updating the Building Code of Pakistan to influence the sector to shift from grey to green cement, which is eco-friendly.

Head of Environment, Bestway Cement, Farrukh Ahmad said that globally, the cement sector was sitting back on the issue of de-carbonization and would take some years to realize why it was important to make a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

He further said that amidst financially testing times, the pressure on the industrial sector for emission reduction in the absence of tax exemptions and incentives is rather utopian thinking. He called for the simplification of the regulatory environment and incentives to promote growth in the sector.

Associate Director, World Resource Institute (WRI) Deepak Krishnan urged the governments and international institutions to facilitate emissions reduction by lowering the cost of technology and equipment and improving access to finance for industries.

He stressed on developing practical and adoptable interventions that must be baked into planning from the start.