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Sindh trying energy self-sufficiency via renewables: Secretary Energy Department

Karachi, June 17, 2022: Abu Bakar Ahmed Madni, Secretary of Energy Department, Government of Sindh has said that besides coal, the provincial government is focusing on generating power through renewable energy sources and for this purpose, many projects for solar, wind and biomass are under construction, which would generate sufficient power for zero load-shedding in the province.

So far, a total of 1,235 Mega Watt (MW) of power is being generated through wind energy by 24 independent power producers (IPPs) in Sindh and an additional 610 MW are under construction through 12 other IPPs, he said. These included 300 MW power generation through four Chinese consortium companies under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he informed at a briefing with the civil society organisations, working on renewable energy at a local hotel on Thursday.

The meeting was organized by The Knowledge Forum and attended by the representatives of the Alliance for Climate Justice and Clean Energy (ACJCE) and Renewable Energy Coalition (REC).

“Our mission is to make Sindh self-sufficient in power generation and export surplus to other provinces by 2022,” Mr Madni said adding that Sindh has a potential of a generation of 55,000 MW only through wind energy along 60 km wide-170 km deep Jhimpir-Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor.

So far, the provincial government has issued 61 letters of Intent for the development of solar, wind and other projects in the province. For this purpose, over 1,000 acres of land have been leased out to companies for renewable projects and more than 40,000 acres reserved for renewable energy parks.

Sindh is the first province which has established its power transmission and dispatch company, he said adding that the first project of a 95 KM, 132KV double circuit line from Nooriabad to Karachi has been completed in January 2018 at Rs 2,000 million. The STDC is transmitting 100 MW to Karachi Electric (KE) system, he added.

Talking about the reports about handing over of Hyderabad and Sukkur Electric Supply companies to the provincial government he said the Sindh government would look into the liabilities before taking over these two power companies.

In the solar energy sector, he pointed out that the Sindh government had completed some off-grid energy projects as a pilot project between 2014-2016. These included the electrification of 350 schools in Nangarparkar taluka in Tharparkar district, 140 houses in Sanghar district and 5 villages in Ghotki district. More IPPs are working on the production of solar power, he said adding that at least two companies are working on the production of 100 MW at Gharo. At least 3 projects of solar power with a generating capacity of 150 MW are under construction, he added.

Talking about coal power plants in Sindh, the Secretary of the Energy Department said two power plants with a capacity of 330 MW each at Block-2 of Thar Coal field are producing power, which is liked with the national grid. The 250-kilometre-long high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) 500 KV transmission line between Thar coalfield to Matiari (in Sindh) has been laid down at a cost of Rs 22,305.73 million, he added.

Mr. Madni said that five coal-field blocks in Tharparkar district have been developed so far and open-pit mines have been developed in two blocks. The work on Block-2 started earlier, which was commissioned in 2019 and its coal is being used in power generation at two power plants.

The provincial government’s energy department plans to dedicate the 6th Block for producing gas through coal under the coal-gasification method. This gasification method would be different from the earlier plant which was installed by nuclear scientist Dr. Samar Mubarkmand. This coal gasification would be made from the coal extracted through open-pit mining, he explained.

Talking about replacing the imported coal with Thar coal, he said the government has in principle decided to use the 20:80 formula for the power plants which are using coal as an energy source. Their 20 per cent coal requirement would be fulfilled by Thar coal. He said reliance on import fuel should be reduced to save foreign exchange.

Ms. Anis Haroon, a Member of the National Commission for Human Rights emphasized the need for shifting focus on solar energy in Thar. He said due to the coal project, the local communities are suffering and the environment of the area is destroyed. She said people’s concerns should be addressed at the provincial government level.

Earlier, in her welcome address, Ms. Zeenia Shaukat of TKF said that civil society organizations in the country are working to the promotion of renewable energies in Pakistan. Mr. Zainuddin and Muhammad Rafay from Alternative Law Collective, Mustafa Amjad and Zeeshan Ashfaq from World Wind Energy Association, Hussain Assad from Policy Research Institute for Equitable Development, Yasir Hussain from Green Pakistan Coalition, Mustafa Ali Shah, Ms. Mahvish and Aslam Mallah from Visionary Forum, Aadil Ayub from Climate Action Pakistan, Iftikhar Ahmed from Energy Department also spoke on the occasion.

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