Renewable energy: Okara’s first commercial biogas plant starts

Power production unit will help meet local energy needs

Our Correspondent December 06, 2016

OKARA: In a bid to generate electricity for agricultural production and gas for cooking purposes, a commercial-sized biogas plant was inaugurated at government-owned Bahadurnagar Farm in Okara on Tuesday.

The inauguration was performed by United States Consul-General Yuriy Fedkiw and Livestock and Dairy Development Department Minister Asif Saeed Manais.

The unit was constructed by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Nestle Pakistan in collaboration with Dairy and Rural Development Foundation (DRDF) and Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development.

While speaking on the occasion, Consul-General Fedkiw said, “Promoting energy efficiency and scaling up renewable energy requires an effective and supportive enabling environment.”  He added, “Today’s ceremony highlights the importance of alternative energy resources, not just in Pakistan but globally as well.”

The consul-general maintained establishing biogas units in rural communities is an efficient and effective way of meeting local energy needs by utilising renewable resources.

Minister Arif Saeed said the provincial government is committed to resolve the energy crisis which has adversely affected the agriculture and industrial sectors.  “The vast potential of biogas should be explored further to provide an alternative to 122 million people in Punjab as it has no reliable source of energy.”

He said, “With the help of USAID and DRDF, the biogas unit will serve as a model for investors and rural communities to replicate and reduce reliance on firewood or dung cakes for cooking and heating.”

While giving details, DRDF chief Ahmed Sajjad, said, “This plant is a continuation of the dairy project’s successful pilot intervention of 50 cubic metre biogas unit constructed for dairy production at Vehari.”  He added USAID’s five-year dairy project worth $21 million has improved the lives of more than 50,000 small dairy farmers in Punjab. He pointed out, “It has also improved livestock productivity and increased dairy farmer income by at least 10%.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 7th, 2016.


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