KARACHI: Pakistan is set to achieve total generation capacity of 1,185 megawatts from renewable energy sources next month when the first wind power project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would be installed in Gharo, said Amjad Ali Awan, chief executive officer of the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) at a press conference held on Wednesday at a local hotel.
Highlighting the progress made by the country in the field of renewable energy, he said that Pakistan was among the few countries in the world today producing over 1,000 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources and had been listed 39th in the renewable energy index for the first time.
The present installed power generation capacity from renewable energy sources stood at 1,135MW, which included 590MW from wind and 400MW from solar and 145MW from bagasse, which was available to sugar mills in northern Sindh and southern Punjab.
He said plans were afoot to increase power generation from solar and wind to 1,756MW and 1,000MW respectively in two years.
Letters of Interest (LoIs), he said, had been issued to four more projects to increase bagasse-based electricity to 375MW while by year 2019, different sugar mills in the country would be contributing up to 500MW electricity to the national grid.
Mr Awan expressed the hope that by 2019, the country would be producing 3,000MW electricity through renewable energy as its onward supply to the end consumers would be made on the basis of subsidised tariff, causing not much financial burden on users of clean electricity in their households and businesses.
According to him, up to 91 per cent of the 1,135MW (renewable energy) was being produced in the country since 2013 while 57 per cent of this installed capacity had been secured over the past one year, “showing sincerity of the present government to utilise potential of the country to produce clean energy”.
He said that Gharo-Jhimpir wind corridor in Sindh alone had the potential of generating 32,000MW to 35,000MW electricity.
“The AEDB will encourage operators of wind power projects in Sindh to install solar panels at their site to generate additional megawatts of clean power on more stable and reliable pattern,” he said.
The board, he said, was facilitating the process of arranging finances from international donor agencies to build capacity of local distribution companies to evacuate electricity from renewable energy plants for onward transmission.
“We have stopped issuing LoIs for new wind power projects in Sindh for over a year as we already have a number of projects in the pipeline that need to be evaluated,” he said, adding that an efficient power transmission and distribution system needed to be in place to evacuate electricity from renewable energy plants.
Twelve wind masts and 10 solar data stations had already been installed in different parts of the country to identify potential renewable energy sources under a World Bank-funded mapping project.
In reply to a question, he said the federal government had approved standards for safety and quality of solar cells being sold in the market and now there was a need to implement them with the help of stakeholders.
Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2016