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$95m loan for 50MW wind power plant

Published Mar 24, 2013 09:06am

— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The US government’s development finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), has approved a credit facility of $95 million for a 50MW wind-power plant in Gharo-Ketti Bandar wind corridor designed to generate 133 gigawatt hours of emission-free electricity annually.

Affirming OPIC’S commitment to support efforts by Pakistan, OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth L. Littlefield said on Friday that OPIC would help diversify its energy production to include important contributions from renewable energy sources.

Using General Electric Wind turbines, the Sapphire Wind Power plant supports a mutual US-Pakistan goal to diversify Pakistan’s power generation beyond reliance on high-priced fuel oil by tapping Pakistan’s vast renewable energy potential.

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

The wind-power projects would enable both countries to take advantage of their massive renewable energy potential to help meet unmet demand for electricity, Ms Littlefield said.

“We are thrilled to partner with innovative US companies to bring these highly-developmental projects to realisation.

“The provision of clean and reliable electricity is an essential building block of any economy,” she added.

Established in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers.

OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide.

To date, OPIC has supported more than $200bn of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $75bn in US exports and supported more than 277,000 American jobs.

The wind is the single largest sector attracting record direct investment in Pakistan.

The Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) is expeditiously carrying out multi-directional activities to commence wind farm projects at wind potential sites.

Private sector has been triggered to invest in wind power.

Currently 45 wind power projects of around 3200MW capacity are are under process.

Two projects of 49.5MW and 56MW (106MW) belonging to FFC Energy Limited and Zorlu Enerji Pakistan have already been completed at Jhampir while another three projects, namely Three Gorges First Wind Farm Pakistan Ltd, Foundation Wind Energy-I Ltd and Foundation Wind Energy-II Pvt Ltd, are under construction.

Nine wind projects of 50MW each with an aggregate capacity of 500MW are expected to achieve financial close during the current year in Thatta district alone, according to the AEDB.