Pakistan is ready for reaping uses of Chinese investment in renewable energy infrastructure with the opening of construction of 1st wind power project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor overhauling transport and energy systems of Pakistan.
Near the attractive shores of Keenjhar Lake is a wind farm (50 MW) over 680 acres (275 hectares) of land in Jhimpir.
Jhimpir part of “Gharo-Jhimpir wind corridor” Sindh holding capacity of 11,000 MW electricity via wind power.
Earliest wind project homed Pakistan began with few turbines in 2009 and will be upgraded to a capacity of 56 MW by 2012.
Newly launched wind farm financed by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and developed by Sachal Energy Development.
Under CPEC Pakistan and China engaged in $57 billion in energy and infrastructure projects.
CPEC projects add up to 17,000 MW to the national grid that is “early harvest” to cope energy crisis.
CPEC includes mostly coal based plants but also working on renewable resources for power generation in which solar and wind projects are listed.
The Quaid-e-Azzam solar park in Bahawalpur contributes 1,000 MW and other 250 MW will come from the wind corridor in Sindh.
Zeeshan Ashfaq, a research analyst working in World Wind Energy Association said that Pakistan currently has more wind power capacity than solar while giving an interview to Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The Gharo-Jhimpir wind corridor, mapped in 2013 by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, holds immense stretches of saline land, unfit for agriculture and with few bushes dotted over.
three 50 MW wind power plants in the Gharo-Jhimpir wind corridor financed by International Finance Corporation (IFC) a world bank member initially in June about $66 million, later on, raise to $172 million.
Tricon Boston Consulting Corporation will operate the plant that will collectively become Pakistan’s largest wind farm according to IFC.
The World Bank started mapping of Pakistan’s wind potential after looking at wind corridors in Punjab as well.
“With globally decrease pricing is kicking off renewables market. Investors are extremely interested,” explained Shabana Khawar, the IFC’s principal country officer in Pakistan.
Khawar said the IFC focus on investing in hydro, wind, and solar projects as it is the largest private-sector investor in Pakistan. She also added that estimated that 2,000 MW of mid-scale to large scale projects are in pipeline.
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) set the benchmark tariff at 6.7 U.S. cents per unit of power produced.
Amjad Awan, chief executive officer of the government’s Alternative Energy Development Board, said that we need an energy mix of solar and wind power because of wind power production dependence on the wind at any time.
“Hybrid arrangements will be able to manage intermittency soon,” Awan said. “Some countries solar and wind energy is cheaper than fossil fuels”, he added.
However, Ashfaq is extremely concerned about the government’s focus on fossil fuel power that is driving the climate change bullet and worsening weather in Pakistan, like more droughts and floods.
He also said that Pakistan is relying on dirty fossil fuels when the world focuses on renewables.
Jamil Masud, an energy consultant at Haggler Bailly Pakistan, a consultancy group, said that at present coal is cheap, and new plants can be easily established with the expectable output. It has been fast-tracked due to financing available under the CPEC.