ISLAMABAD: An energy-deficient Pakistan has entered into an agreement on $375 million wind power generation project to produce 150 megawatts of electricity by installing a plant close to Karachi, its largest industrial city.
The agreement for the project, scheduled to be completed in two years, was signed here on Sunday between the ministry of water and power and a US company AES Corporation.
US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and Water and Power Secretary Javed Iqbal put their signatures on the documents on behalf of their respective governments.
The project would be set up at three sites in the Gharo Corridor in Thatta district of Sindh.
Pakistan’s coastal belt is spread over hundreds of kilometres and is very windy throughout the year. According to rough estimates, the country has a potential to generate up to 50,000 megawatts of electricity by exploiting this source alone.
The project will reduce the country’s dependence on imported fuel and oil, saving Pakistan $45 million (Rs3.8 billion) a year.
The project, using new technology of ‘clean’ power, would serve about 600,000 homes in the area.
The money being spent on the project would neither be a loan to Pakistan’s government nor would it be from the amount due to come from Washington to Islamabad under Kerry-Lugar legislation.
Holbrooke said it was the best example of private-public partnership between the two countries as the ministry of water and power would represent Pakistan while USAID and US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) and American Power Company (AES) Corporation were joining hands from the other side.
Referring to the successful example of Germany in producing wind energy, Holbrooke said the completion of this project would also encourage international community to invest in this sector in Pakistan, helping resolve its acute energy crisis.
Secretary Water and Power Javed Iqbal said the project would further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.
He said Pakistan has great potential in the alternative energy sector and this project would lay the foundation for future cooperation between the two countries in this field.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2010.