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ISLAMABAD: The first 50MW wind power project with the credit facility of $95 million from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation of the United States in the wind corridor of Sindh will go into operation by the end of 2015, a senior official of Opic said here on Wednesday.

Hassan Qayyum, Opic Director, Renewable Energy and Sustainable Finance, told journalists that the financial close of the Sapphire wind power plant would be signed next month and it would take about 18 months to complete the project in the Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor.

The project is designed to generate 133 gigawatt hours of emission-free electricity annually, using General Electric wind turbines.

Mr Qayyum said that there was a possibility of Opic credit facility for three to six more wind-power projects to be set up in the wind corridor for which negotiations were in an advanced stage.

A recent study, funded by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and USAID, estimates that Pakistan possesses 132,000MW of potential installed wind capacity – virtually equal to the world’s entire installed wind capacity for 2010.

Another project in the process is the 49.6MW wind energy project for which the Opic board of directors has approved credit facility of $101.5m.

The project will be constructed, owned and operated by the Dewan Energy Group.

The Opic director revealed that Opic is financing the first renewable energy biomass plant to supply power to the national grid in Pakistan.

The 12MW power plant will be built to run on a variety of waste products mainly bagasse, a by-product from the processing of sugar cane.

He said that Pakistan also has great potential to produce energy from the waste of rice and cotton. Opic is also looking for investment in producing energy from solid waste. This is a new sector and we are discussing the proposal with the government, he said.

Over the past few years, OPIC has made an investment of $500m in 14 projects in health, education, telecommunications, renewable energy and humanitarian affairs, and since 1975 Opic investment has touched the figure of $1.3 billion in Pakistan.