THE start of the wind power project in the Jhimpir area of coastal Sindh is a welcome development. The Fauji Fertiliser Company has started a 50MW project, inaugurated by President Asif Ali Zardari on Christmas Eve in Karachi. This is the largest wind power project in Pakistan, and although the amount of electricity it would be able to generate sounds meagre in comparison to the shortfalls we have become accustomed to, the project is important mainly as a demonstration of the viability of wind power in the country. However, the project should be seen primarily as a ground-breaking event, rather than a solution to energy problems. With the 50MW of electricity that it will feed into the national grid, at a feed-in tariff of Rs12.61, the project represents the end of a long road down which we began to travel back in 2008.

It was back then that a Turkish firm by the name of Zorlu Energy had made the first move to invest in wind power in the Gharo-Keti Bunder corridor. The project suffered from many delays. There were snags and problems in the allocation of the land. There were problems in the wind data which was not considered bankable. There were difficulties in determining the wind tariff. All of these delayed implementation, even though a small 6MW wind turbine was installed. Zorlu was the pioneer in the field, and took the first steps down the road on which the FFC has travelled towards establishing the 50MW project. Inauguration of the FFC’s project, therefore, is a demonstration that these snags and difficulties have been successfully overcome. If the FFC can bank a $130m project, get a commercially viable tariff established for wind power, and acquire possession over the land for the project, then very few obstacles remain for others to follow suit.

There is little doubt that the government, in its characteristic jubilation, is overstating the power generation potential of the Gharo-Keti Bunder wind corridor. Nobody is willing to seriously believe that 50,000MW of electricity can be produced by the winds that blow through this corridor. But the potential for wind power generation is indeed substantial and needs to be tapped. The best way to tap this potential is to create an enabling environment for private investors; and this project may well have shown the way. Pakistan needs to urgently diversify its power-generation mix, and our growing dependence on furnace oil must be halted. The start of a wind power project in coastal Sindh offers us a ray of hope that progress on this important national priority is possible.

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Comments (9)

Riaz Ahmed
December 26, 2012 6:35 pm
The basic ingredient that is vital is the dedication. What we so far experience in Pakistan is that the corruption is given top priority. There are lots of untapped areas in Pakistan but the element of corruption and lack of seriousness leads us nowhere.
December 26, 2012 12:39 pm
50,000 MW is the power of the wind flowing through that region and only 2/3 of it can be theoretically harnessed
Walayat Malik
December 26, 2012 12:18 pm
First 6MW and now 50MW! This has paved the way for more projects that can be completed following same process followed by FFC. All it needs is serious commitment on part of the government to facilitate investors in all possible ways.
December 26, 2012 1:06 pm
It depends on the capacity of the turbines, how many of these can be installed and how much concentration can be afforded given noise levels, terrain, population etc. the turbines with the current technology can only operate within a certain window of wind capacity. Anything above and below this window, and the turbine would be forced shut down for safety as well as grid frequency and voltage phasing requirements.
December 26, 2012 11:17 am
Wind power will help in decreasing the power crisis, but to say that it will "definately overcome" the energy crisis is not true. You need a lot more power to overcome the crisis.
C. Nandkishore
December 26, 2012 1:46 pm
Wind Power is just romantic. Real power comes from coal. e.g. 13,500 MW thermal power plants have been sanctioned at Krishnapatnam alone.
December 26, 2012 7:09 am
This is very important step in the generation of electricity that will definately overcome the energy crises and country move farward and give support to industries.
M. Asghar
December 26, 2012 10:39 am
The 50 MW wind-energy is something, However, one has to know that this wind-energy is intermettent and is available for only about six hours a day.
afzal amin
December 27, 2012 3:35 am
Krishnapatnam Power project is based on Imported coal and it product 4000MW.
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