ISLAMABAD: The government will not opt for any new power project run on expensive imported fuel in the future, Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir declared on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference here, he said that the foundations for the provision of inexpensive electricity under the leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif were being laid by the government, adding that a proposed solar energy project would be completed as soon as possible.
He said that instead of relying on expensive imported fuel for generation of electricity, the government had decided to “optimally utilise indigenous sources of energy”, adding that “no new power project would be set up [in the country] based on imported fuel in future”.
From now, all new power projects would be set up using local resources, such as wind, solar, hydel, nuclear and Thar coal, he said Shifting the entire power generation infrastructure to indigenous sources would not only help decrease the burden on the exchequer, but would also make electricity more affordable, he said.
Minister announces intent to tap indigenous options, including solar, wind, hydel, Thar coal and nuclear power
Solar projects with a 1MW to 4MW capacity would be set up in rural areas and government buildings would also switch over to solar energy. He said both local and foreign investors had shown interest in investing in solar projects.
He pointed out that solar energy would also help control environmental pollution.
The minister said coal and oil prices had witnessed sharp increase of 300-400 per cent in international market during the current year. “Consumers cannot afford such hike,” he noted.
Currently, he said, the government is working on a number of projects which would add 2,000MW to the national grid by next year.
Mr Dastgir said prices of solar and wind energy were around 50-60 per cent lower than other fuel, adding that solar projects of 600MW would be placed before investors and awarded to the lowest bidder.
He said Lahore-Matiari transmission line had been operationalised and new projects would be set up where transmission line is available.
He said it had also been decided to convert expensive power projects, based on imported costly fuel, to alternative local fuel.
The minister said work would soon begin on wind power projects, adding that hydel projects had already been expedited.
The Karot project started its production in June, while 1,320MW Shanghai Thar coal project would start generation by end of this year, he added.
The minister said subsidy being provided to consumers using 200-300 units under fuel cost adjustment would benefit 75 per cent of consumers.
Coming down hard on the previous government, he said the incumbent government had inherited Rs2,468 billion circular debt and Rs5,600bn budget deficit.
The present government has reduced the circular debt by Rs258bn during the last three months, he claimed.
Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022