KARACHI: Wind power generation capacity of the country is projected to increase from 250 to 1,530MW within a year as 22 windmill projects are in the pipeline.

The cheap and environmental-friendly wind energy, introduced late in Pakistan, is gaining popularity as it ensures quick return in a short cycle of three years.

Sources in the Ministry of Water and Power told Dawn that Pakistan has a 1,046km coastline in the South (Sindh and Balochistan), but most of the wind power projects are currently being installed at Gharo-Keti Bander and Hyderabad wind corridor.

Official sources said that nine wind turbine generator (WTG) projects are in advanced stage of development, while the other nine are under-construction and four have got their letters of intent (LoIs). Many more are under process and documentation. The estimated energy pot­ential of the wind corridor is 50,000MW. Besides Gharo, sev­eral other sites have been identified in coastal areas of Balochistan and Northern areas.

Presently five WTG projects each with 50MW capacity are operating at Gharo-Jhampir wind corridor. However, the nine other WTG projects which are in the phase of development will produce 450MW and those in the stage of construction will produce 480MW wind energy. Similarly, four projects which have been given LoIs will produce 350MW.

Responding to a question, Mohammad Kasim Hasham, whose company Uni-Energy has recently been LoI, said that with 100 per cent foreign financing the total cost of wind power project comes to $107.50 million, and in case of local financing the cost is estimated at $113m. The annual operational and maintenance cost in both the cases is only $2.196m.

Javed Akhtar group in joint venture with Tapal and Candyland is also setting up 30MW capacity WTG project that will become functional early next year. He lamented the loss of time in introducing wind power, but was optimistic that private sector would actively engage and pull the nation out of energy crisis.

He said his other company Dairyland with over 300 cow-heads is nearby in the Gharo-Jhampir area and will get the power from wind which is cheap and pollution free.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2015