Despite being a late entrant to the wind energy race, Pakistan is soon going to join leading wind energy producers because of growing interest of investors and forward-looking renewable energy policies of the government, says Fauji Fertilizer Company Energy Limited Project Director Brigadier (R) Tariq Izaz.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a briefing arranged for select media at the company site at Jhampir, District Thatta, on Thursday.
“With eight projects of wind energy in progress, the country is all set to take off in this area,” said Izaz. “This will not only reduce electricity shortages, but will also help ease the burden of oil imports that cost over $12 billion annually.”
Fauji Fertilizer Company Energy Limited (FFCEL) will start producing electricity on commercial basis from November this year, which will be the first addition of wind power to the national grid. The company initially plans to produce 50 megawatts and later expand the capacity to 250 megawatts.
Izaz said the future of wind power was extremely bright because of the wind corridors in Sindh. To substantiate his point, he said, the fair category of wind speed in most parts of the world is between 6.2 and 6.9 metres per second (m/s). There are a few places that come under the good category where wind speed is between 7 and 7.3 m/s.
Fortunately, the wind speed in the Sindh corridor is stronger than the above two categories and it stands in the excellent category that is between 7.5 and 7.7 m/s.
FFCEL, a subsidiary of Fauji Fertilizer Company, will start trial energy production from June, which will be provided to the national grid free of charge by the time commercial production starts in November.
According to a USAID report, Pakistan has the potential of producing 150,000 megawatts of wind energy, of which only the Sindh corridor can produce 40,000 megawatts. Jhampir, Gharo and Keti Bander are the three areas where Sindh has a huge potential for wind energy.
Fauji Fertilizer has acquired 1,283 acres of land for the project and invested $135 million since its start in March 2007. At present, the company is in the process of installing 33 wind turbines.
Izaz claimed that the project had achieved 60% completion target. Seventeen sets of wind turbines and blades have already arrived, while remaining 16 turbines and blades are scheduled to reach Karachi in March.
He said seven wind turbines had already been installed and the remaining 25 towers were in different stages of manufacturing at the Karachi Manufacturing Works at Bin Qasim.
Keeping in view the country’s energy demand, the government has decided to increase the share of renewable sources in the overall energy mix. The renewable energy policy was unveiled in December 2006 and the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) has issued 97 letters of interest for wind energy – FFC got 24th for 50 megawatts and 96th for an additional 100 megawatts. AEDB also allotted land to 23 investors – 12 in Gharo and 11 in Jhampir.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.