Investment up to $2.7b expected in wind projects

Potential to generate 3.2m MW from renewable resources identified.

August 06, 2012

KARACHI: The government expects an investment between $1.2 billion and $2.7 billion merely in the wind energy projects in the country; though many alternative energy projects are on the cards to attract foreign investment and bridge the power deficit.

According to official estimates, Pakistan has the potential to generate 143,000 megawatts (MW) through solar and wind energy. Currently, the country is developing wind power plants in Jhimpir, Gharo, Keti Bandar and Bin Qasim in Sindh which will not only reduce electricity shortages, but will also help ease the burden of oil imports costing over $12 billion annually to the national exchequer. The fair category of wind speed in most parts of the world is between 6.2 and 6.9 metres per second (m/s). However, the wind speed in the Sindh corridor is stronger and stands in the excellent category of 7.5m/s and 7.7m/s.

According to a United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) report, Pakistan has the potential of producing approximately 150,000MW of energy through wind, of which only the Sindh corridor can produce 40,000MW.

Government plans to achieve up to 2500MW by end of year 2015 from wind energy.

Work on Zorlu energy wind power project with 50MW generation capacity is underway in Jhimpir and will start trial production soon. Pakistan’s Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) recently approved a New Park Energy Phase-I, 400MW wind project near Port Qasim.

According to a study, Pakistan has identified cumulative potential to generate 3.2 million MW from renewable energy resources - 340,000MW from wind, 2.9 million MW from solar, 50,000MW from hydro (large), 3,100MW from hydro (small), 1800MW from bagasses cogeneration and 500MW from waste.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2012.