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City likely to get additional 100MW by next month

Updated November 04, 2016

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KARACHI: The city is likely to experience improvement in electricity supplies by the end of this year when it will receive 100 megawatts from the gas-fired power generation plant in Nooriabad under an agreement signed between the K-Electric and the Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company (STDC).

This was stated by chief executive officer (CEO) of the STDC Rehan Hamid while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a conference held at a local hotel on Thursday.

Titled International Wind Energy Summit: Pakistan Wind Energy Industry-Prospects and Challenges, the event was organised by Energy Update magazine in collaboration with multiple partners.

“The plant and the 95-kilometre-long 132kV transmission line being funded by the government, both are in their final stages,” Mr Hamid said.

On projects of renewable energy, he said, the provincial government had issued 35 letters of interest and allotted land to private parties for setting up wind energy plants and now a final approval from the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) Ltd was required to start work on the projects. Their commissioning would further add 2,735MW of clean energy to the system.

Managing director of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) Dr Faiz Ahmad Chaudhry said that the government had taken up the challenge to produce 11,000MW energy in the next three years and the company had committed to connecting 50 projects to the national grid.

“The challenge is huge given the fact that our total power generation capacity is 21,000MW that we achieved in 70 years,” he said, stressing the need for integrated system planning for power generation in the country.

Wind and solar power projects in the country, he pointed out, had been generating power 30 per cent to 35 per cent and 15pc to 16 of their installed capacity, which, he said, was very much according to the international benchmarks for these kind of projects.

He said that since the government had already committed a large number of power projects, the letters of interests for new wind and solar projects should be given to only those planned to be commissioned by year 2021 or 2022.

At the summit, speakers highlighted benefits of renewable energy and emphasised the need for proper planning to evaluate alternative energy options and exploit their maximum potential.

State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, the chief guest, spoke about the government’s achievements and said that in a decade the country had started harnessing the potential of alternative and renewable energy resources available in the country.

“Currently, there are 35 wind power projects having a cumulative capacity of 1,752MW, which are at different stages of development and operation whereas 12 wind power projects of 590.5MW cumulative capacity have achieved commercial operation,” he told the audience.

Replying to a question, he said: “The K-Electric management couldn’t fulfil its contractual obligations, which we hope will now be followed. The government is well on track to overcome electricity shortfall in the country by year 2018.”

Chief executive officer of the Alternative Energy Development Board Amjad Ali Awan said the country had been able to generate 1,135MW through renewable sources and the board was arranging finances for more projects.

“The board has done the homework to promote net-metering to be adopted by distribution companies under some guidelines. This will encourage consumers to install small units of solar panels or windmills at their households for domestic energy needs,” he said.

CEO of Central Power Purchasing Agency Ltd Abid Latif Lodhi called for replacing “competitive upfront mode” for tariff determination with “solicited site competitive bidding mode” once renewable energy sector got fully developed in the country.

This means the government should introduce a bidding process to determine power tariff which would benefit consumers as opposed the present mechanism in which the power sector regulator fixed tariff, he explained.

Foreign companies, according to him, should be allowed to do projects of alternative energy in the country albeit with the condition to transfer related technologies that should be developed in the country as what India was doing to promote clean energy sector.

The well-attended conference included panel discussions and presentations by representatives of various solar and wind power companies.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2016