Pakistan finalizes policy recommendations to support the use of biomass technologies in industry


The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) organized a workshop to collect feedback from stakeholders  on biomass policy. Recognizing the need for tapping all possible energy sources available to Pakistan, especially renewable sources such as biomass, UNIDO is implementing a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project titled, “Promoting Sustainable Energy Production & Use from Biomass in Pakistan”. The project aims to promote the market-based adoption of modern biomass technologies for industrial and rural energy applications with particular focus on the introduction of biomass gasification technology. In keeping with the project aims and objectives, UNIDO is providing technical assistance for the development of concrete policy recommendations for policies and regulations relevant to the promotion of modern biomass technologies for both existing and future policy regimes with particular focus on utilization of biomass energy in industries. Deriving lessons from international best practices, UNIDO Pakistan’s technical team developed the following documents:

  1. Recommendations to existing policies and regulations for better promotion of biomass
  2. Recommendations for the management and pricing of biomass resource
  3. Technical quality standards for biomass gasifier manufacturing and import.

The consultative stakeholder workshop, had over 70 participants including representatives from AEDB, NEPRA, Provincial Energy Departments, private sector, academia and several other stakeholders, provided those present the opportunity to comment on the aforementioned documents developed in order to finalize them before official submission to AEDB for implementation. In addition to presentations and Q&As pertaining to the above-mentioned documents, there was also a presentation on the best practices for promotion of the biomass sector from the governmental standpoint.

The event was chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of AEDB Mr. Amjad Ali Awan. He stressed that such events are important opportunities for sharing of knowledge, experiences and expertise to influence the policy making process. He highlighted the importance of biomass energy technologies both as a means to address the energy challenges in the country and an important opportunity to save fuel and diversify its energy mix to include clean indigenous energy sources. Mr. Neil Buhne, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan described biomass as a ‘huge resource’ for the country with immense benefits not just in energy and economic terms but also as a driver to bring about several social and environmental benefits in the country. He linked promoting biomass with the achievement of several sustainable goals and highlighted the importance of biomass as part of the larder bio-economy with volume of over 2 trillion dollars globally. Speaking on the occasion, the UNIDO Representative to Pakistan Mr. Esam Alqararah informed the audience of the role and mandate of UNIDO to promote clean and sustainable energy solutions such as biomass for industrial and other applications. He highlighted the importance of having an enabling policy and regulatory framework as a means of really unlocking the market potential for biomass in Pakistan. He also took the opportunity to thank AEDB and other public and private sector stakeholders, several of whom had traveled from outside Islamabad, for their support and feedback and encouraged all present to work together towards promoting the use of biomass as a source of energy in Pakistan.

The finalized policy recommendations will be submitted to AEDB for making the necessary changes in the existing policies, regulations and procedures related to biomass. The quality standards will be used by the Customs department of the Federal Board of Revenue to ensure that only gasifiers complying with the stated standards are imported in the country. The event comprised of presentations and interactive question and answer sessions. Where several key issues pertaining to biomass such as policy incentives, biomass energy targets, supply chain, pricing and the introduction of renewable portfolio standards were discussed. The event was concluded by a formal vote of thanks by the CEO AEDB where he stressed that AEDB is committed to implementing the policy recommendations and offering all possible facilitation for the promotion of the biomass sector.