Pakistan to take lead in wind energy

Published: February 24, 2012

The company initially plans to produce 50MW of power and later expand the project to 250MW. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: 

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.

Reader Comments (21)

  • Aafaq
    Feb 24, 2012 - 2:51AM

    In the next 5 years, Pakistan will be on up in energy sector.

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  • Naseer Muhammad
    Feb 24, 2012 - 3:04AM

    We are truly blessed and now just need to utilise these great gifts of nature! :-)

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  • Feb 24, 2012 - 8:12AM

    Pakistan is fortunate to have something many other countries do not, which are high wind speeds near major population centers, according to data published by Miriam Katz of Environmental Peace Review.

    Near Islamabad, the wind speed is anywhere from 6.2 to 7.4 meters per second (between 13.8 and 16.5 miles per hour). Near Karachi, the range is between 6.2 and 6.9 (between 13.8 and 15.4 miles per hour).

    In Balochistan and Sindh provinces, sufficient wind exists to power every coastal village in the country. There also exists a corridor between Gharo and Keti Bandar that alone could produce between 40,000 and 50,000 megawatts of electricity, says Ms. Katz who has studied and written about alternative energy potential in South Asia. Given this surplus potential, Pakistan has much to offer Asia with regards to wind energy.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/02/pakistan-launches-wind-power-projects.html

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  • Rajesh
    Feb 24, 2012 - 9:48AM

    I guess Fauji Fertilizer is a Pak Army owned company.

    So why is the army into fertilizer?

    Why is the Fertilizer unit of the army (??) into wind energy?

    Now that the army plans to enter the wind energy sector, are they OK with having other players in the sector or do they prefer having no competition in the sector – and who decides that? The army?

    This doesn’t seem to bode too well for Pak’s wind energy industry.

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  • Afak Nazim
    Feb 24, 2012 - 10:47AM

    Soundnt we focus on Solar?

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  • Pappo Piplia
    Feb 24, 2012 - 11:17AM

    Military has entered the energy sector as well.

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  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Feb 24, 2012 - 11:24AM

    @Rajesh:
    Pakistan army is into fertilizer and other industries to support the expenditure of its retired personnel and currently employed army men. But most of its workforce is entirely comprised of civilians. And yes, they have no objection to competition. Army rules are limited to its factories and related industries.

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  • Muhammad Ali
    Feb 24, 2012 - 11:48AM

    I think along with Wind energy, Pakistan should focus on Jatropha bio-diesel fuel. Jatropha plant has expected long life with ability to face harsh conditions. India is doing great in this field, as they have planted Jatropha in Rajhastan. Imagine a plant that can survive in the desert. We have much land in Balochistan, and we can plant it on mountain regions.
    Someone needs to work on it as well.

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  • Jat
    Feb 24, 2012 - 12:25PM

    Looking at Pak Army, which is so full of wind, it is probably the right decision.

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  • A.Khan
    Feb 24, 2012 - 1:04PM

    @Rajesh:
    Your point is valid but there are many projects started by army-men and then handed over to private companies once they are established and they have share holders. The Pre-study for this project was done entirely by civilian entities.

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  • mahmood
    Feb 24, 2012 - 1:29PM

    that is a very good move(thumbs up). the right direction i believe as in future we will be needing additional energy sources.
    pakistan also has fairly good sunlight hours which unfortunately most european countries and states do not have. so we should also work on solar projects for heating water, making steam and generating electricity.

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  • Parvez
    Feb 24, 2012 - 3:11PM

    Lets hope this project does not end up like the Karachi DHA desalinization / power plant.

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  • Rajesh / Bangalore
    Feb 24, 2012 - 3:34PM

    As an addendum to my previous post:

    I am curious to know if there are studies done by Pakistani economists or institutes like the LUMS which analyse how local industries – where the army is one of the players – have performed over the last 2 or 3 decades.

    How are these sectors structured, who are the major players, how has competition evolved, etc?

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  • Nadir
    Feb 24, 2012 - 4:04PM

    @PakistaniAgnostic: Fauji Foundation and its like get tax exemptions for the state which means that they do not encourage competition. Just look at NLC that gets projects without a bid process, and when it does bid its bid is so much lower because unlike other private operators they dont need to worry about taxes.Recommend

  • Saad Ullah
    Feb 24, 2012 - 4:20PM

    One of the rare good news which we are able to hear these days! CHEERS!! =D

    I hope the project gets completed without any hurdles, unlike most of the projects in Pak, which are stopped before their completion. This project can bring massive benifits for the country..

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  • Salman Sheikh
    Feb 24, 2012 - 4:35PM

    The only question is WHEN. We have been listening it for years after years.
    Building dams…When??.
    Providing Electricity…When??
    Mass Transit System..When??
    Gwadar Port Operational…When???

    Bunch of lies they can’t do it any thing.. its a publicity stunt thats all.

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  • Farhan Zaheer
    Feb 24, 2012 - 4:46PM

    It is true that such projects are run by retired military officers, which is in view point of many, is not the ideal condition.

    Despite all the criticisms on the military’s involvement in leading businesses, i see silver-lining in black cloud.

    1) This project will attract more private investment in other on-going wind energy projects in Sindh that are likely to expand from current capacity of 50 MW to 250 MW.
    2) Wind energy projects will reduce Pakistan’s dependence on oil imports that have reached to $12b annually.
    3) The country is now producing many of the important components of this future technology.
    4) Its environmentally clean than furnace or coal power generation.
    5) It will balance out the highly imbalance energy mix of Pakistan as we make most of our power through furnace, which is one of the most expensive way of power generation in world.

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  • Amadeus
    Feb 24, 2012 - 5:05PM

    The per unit cost of producing electricity via thermal or hydro is much lower than wind. Wind has its own maintenance issues, and certainly cannot be construed as a primary source of energy. There needs to be more focus on building dams across the country, because that’s the only thing which can solve the energy issues at the lowest cost. Wind/solar are just hippie alternatives, and will barely contribute to the total energy requirements.

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  • KH
    Feb 24, 2012 - 8:35PM

    A really good news to hear,

    As far as competition is concerned following para shows that Board issued 97 LOI and Fauji furtilizer got two.

    “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.”

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  • Waqqar
    Feb 24, 2012 - 11:32PM

    @ Rajesh;

    Mr rajesh please corect your information then make objections. For the welfare of retired, injured, disbled or dead army persons and their families a trust with the name of Fauji foundation was established in 1954. the Foundation provides services in the areas of healthcare, education, educational stipends, technical and vocational training.

    To meet the services foundation has started a number of bussiness i.e fertilizer, cement, medicine, ceareals, energy, oil and gas exploration. This also created enormous employment oppertunities for locals as well. One more thing foundation has nothing to do with serving army nor it provides any kind of funds.

    This foundation is mix of civilians and retired army personals. I think you sholud also think on such types of foundations rather than only pointing on every thing of pakistan. For more info pls go thru..

    http://www.fauji.org.pk/Webforms/home.aspx

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  • ayesha
    Feb 25, 2012 - 1:52AM

    @Pakistani Agnostic: “Pakistan army is into fertilizer and other industries to support the expenditure of its retired personnel and currently employed army men.”

    Those expenses come from the Pak budget. Fertiliser factories are nto needed for that

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