ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and United States (US) on Sunday signed a wind power generation project which will be completed in two years at a cost of $375 million (Rs. 32 Billion) to produce 150 megawatts of electricity.
The agreement was signed by US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and Secretary Water and Power Javed Iqbal on behalf of their respective governments here at a local hotel.
US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Director USAID Andrew Sisson, Chairman Alternative Energy Development Board Arif Aluddin and country representative of American Power Company (AES) Muhammad Iqbal were also present on this occasion.
The project will be in three sites in the Gharo Corridor, in Thatta, Sindh near Karachi to utilize the winds of the area for producing 150 megawatts of power.
The main objective of the projects, first of its kind in public and private partnership between the two countries, was to improve the capacity of Pakistan government's capacity to address the country's most critical energy needs.
It will also reduce the dependence on imported fuel and oil and will save Pakistan $45 million (Rs. 3.8 billion) per year in fuel cost.
The project using new technology of 'clear' power will serve about 600,000 homes in the area.
Richard Holbrooke addressing briefly on this occasion said it is a best example of private and public partnership between the two countries as Ministry of Water and Power will represent Pakistan while USAID and US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and American Power Company (AES) Corporation, a private company are joining hands to address the important problem being faced by the people of Pakistan.
He said this project is following the instructions from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that US should support Pakistan to resolve its energy crisis.
Holbrooke said it will be useful and environmental friendly project and save millions of dollars of Pakistan government that has to be spent on the import of oil for producing electricity.
He said the project is also under renewable energy sector; therefore it will also encourage other private investors to invest in this useful and important sector.
Referring to the successful example of Germany in producing wind energy, Holbrooke said, the completion of this project would also encourage international community to come to Pakistan to invest in this sector to resolve the energy crisis.
US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter speaking on the occasion said the project will address the key issue of shortage of electricity in Pakistan.
He said it will have impact on the future relations of two countries and provide a solid base to further enhance and promote these ties.
The ambassador said, “We address very basic need of the people of Pakistan through this project with best tool.”
He said, US would spare no effort to cooperate with Pakistan with such other projects in energy sector.
Secretary Water and Power Javed Iqbal appreciating the contribution by the American government and personal interest taken by Richard Holbrooke said the project would further strengthen the bilateral relations.
He said Pakistan has great potential in the field of alternative energy sector, and this project would lay foundation for future cooperation between the two countries in this field.