China has offered financial and technical assistance to develop hydro electricity and wind power by upgrading the existing transmission system, and is looking to provide an integrated solution to the perennial problem of power shortages in Pakistan.
At a briefing at the Aiwan-e-Sadr on Wednesday, China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC) Chairman Cao Guangjing, offered to initiate hydroelectric projects through a direct financing model, based on public-private partnerships.
Briefing the media, spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar, said that the corporation was already involved in a number of hydrowind power projects in the country and had offered to build more to permanently address the power crisis.
Babar said the ongoing projects being undertaken by the corporation included the Karot, Taunsa, Kohala and Bunji hydroelectric projects. The letter of interest for the Karot Hydero electric project, which has a 720-megawatt (MW) generation capacity, has been issued and feasibility of the project has been approved. Additionally, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the Taunsa hydroelectric project, with a generation capacity of 120MW, has been signed, while the joint development agreement of the project is to be signed later this month.
The Kohala hydropower project, which will generate 1,100MW of electricity, is ready for tariff negotiations, as the letter of interest for the project has been issued and the updated feasibility study approved.
Moreover, the Bunji hydroelectric project, another CTGPC project with a 7,100MW capacity, is ready for site survey, with the MoU for the project having been signed in August 2009.
Babar also said that ongoing wind projects were also in their advanced stages.
The spokesperson said that President Asif Ali Zardari had advised the federal government to consider tasking CTGPC to initiate a project at the Sukkur Barrage, asking Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar to prepare a project proposal within 60 days, after consultation with stakeholders. The water discharge level at Sukkur is over 12,000 cusecs.
It was also informed that the joint development agreement for the 120MW Taunsa hydroelectric project is due to be signed this month.
The president asserted that Pakistan had signed the free trade agreement (FTA) with China, which ensured full security to Chinese investment in Pakistan. He explained that with low cost of production, hard working labour, liberal incentives, and access to major markets in the region, Pakistan offered a unique opportunity to Chinese investors. He added that true trade potential of the two countries had yet to be fully realised.
Appreciating CTGPC’s efforts, Zardari assured the corporation of full support and facilitation for ongoing projects in the country.
In response, Guangjing thanked the president for conferring the prestigious award of Hilal-i-Quaid-e-Azam upon him and assured full cooperation of the Chinese government in meeting the country’s energy requirements.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2011.
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