President urges women’s enhanced role in energy conservation

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday termed energy conservation as a major challenge confronting the country and called for women’s role in creating awareness about the needs and methods of energy’s optimal use.  “The more aware the lady of the house will be about energy conservation, the more efficiently the house will run,” the President said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of International Conference on Conservation, Energy Efficiency and Solar Conservation’ organized by ‘Women in Energy,’ a non-governmental organization, at Aiwan-e-Sadr.The President said the government was encouraging women as co-partners with their male counterparts in every field, including energy sector for its better conservation.Zardari said as a president, he was also following the dream of a woman – Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, whose vision and manifesto had great emphasis on energy conservation.The President said the women could take first step in achieving energy efficiency by proposing ways and means of reducing the electricity load at all important places including at the President House, the Parliament and other important government buildings.
He said considering the importance of solar power to be widely used in future, the Presidency had taken a lead by installing a demo solar unit at its gate.“This is a practical demonstration that we are conscious of energy scarcity and are making use of alternative energy options,” he said.The President recommended the government for creating national awards for those who made achievements in energy sector and for setting up a think-tank to advice the parliament for appropriate legislation to address issues in energy conservation.He said there was a need to impress upon the people that “One Watt of energy saved, is one watt of energy produced.”
He said the message needed to be spread throughout the country and necessary practical measures needed to be taken by all consumers to conserve energy and make it available for more productive uses.The President said the country was facing a serious energy crisis and the power shortage had adversely impacted the lives of individuals as well as that of the community.He said the government may consider making the subject of conservation awareness and use of renewable energy as part of the education curriculum.The President urged the need for involving women work force in the local manufacture of components of solar power units. He suggested for starting the project of making solar lanterns by women under the Benazir Income Support Programme.
The President said there was a need to develop solar and wind farms for research and development in the area of renewable energy as well as setting up a renewable energy development fund.He said it was reassuring that the USAID was contributing in the ‘Women In Energy’ initiative, and suggested for linking it with the US Department of Energy and its affiliates in Pakistan.Appreciating the USAID for conducting the wind and solar mapping in Pakistan, he said that it would help in achieving the objectives of improving energy efficiency in the country.The US government representative Ambassador Robin Raphel appreciated Pakistan government in making effective contributions in the two key areas of Pak-US bilateral relationship, including energy and women emancipation.
She mentioned the US support to Pakistan in these areas during the third Pak-US Strategic Dialogue and at the Friends of Democratic Pakistan forum.She said the United States was working with Ministry of Water and Power for the construction and upgradation of dams, adding that access to electricity would generate employment opportunities among the locals.Ambassador Raphael stressed for creating awareness among women on energy as they were its mainstream users, and said more female engineers were required for the country’s development.Senator Rukhsana Zuberi, Chairperson Pakistan Engineering Council said her NGO ‘Women in Energy’ was focusing on women, as one third of energy was used by them at homes.
She mentioned that energy was an important area of focus in Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s party manifesto, and said her efforts were a way to pay tribute to the great visionary leader – App