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LAHORE: The cost of electricity from a biomass-to-electricity power plant is less than solar and wind power plants, said Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) sources.

They said the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for biomass fuelled power plant as determined by NEPRA is approximately US cents 8.28/kWhr and those for coal, RNLG, wind, and solar power plant are US cents 7.79/kWhr, US cents 12.44/kWhr, US cents 8.20/kWhr, and US cents 11.31/kWhr, respectively.

Media reports suggest that the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved $450 million financing to support Pakistan's transition to renewable energy resources that reduce its reliance on fossil fuel imports and lower costs of electricity production.

The sources said potential of about 8000 MW crop residue based power generation exists in Pakistan that needs exploitation. However, the location of plant should be outside the collection area of those sugar mills that already have an installed power generation capacity higher than that it can meet from the bagasse produced.

The sources further pointed out that the fixed and capital costs of a biomass power plant are a little bit higher than that of coal power plant but lower than wind or solar power plant. Biomass power plant has good plant availability, which makes it a viable option to service base loads and has very low greenhouse gas emissions, they added.

They said at least 6000 MW capacity plants can be fuelled during the whole year in Punjab province alone by using crop residue as fuel and the generation capacity will keep on increasing in future as crop yield and collection efficiencies increase. It has been estimated that up to 11,000 MW of renewable and sustainable energy can be produced in Pakistan using five major crops (wheat, maize, sugarcane, rice, and cotton) residue based on crop yield data of 2017-18.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020