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

So far, 1,235 megawatt (MW) of power is being generated through wind energy by 24 independent power producers (IPPs) in Sindh and projects with a capacity of another 610 MW are under construction through 12 other IPPs, he said.

These included 300 MW generation through four Chinese consortium companies under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said on Thursday at a briefing for the civil society organisations working on renewable energy.

The meeting was organised by The Knowledge Forum (TKF) and attended by 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,” Madni said. adding that Sindh has a potential of generating 55,000 MW only through wind energy along a 60-kilometre-wide and 170-kilometre-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 has been leased out to companies for renewable energy projects and more than 40,000 acres reserved for renewable energy parks.

Sindh is the first province which has established its own power transmission and dispatch company, said the secretary, adding that the first project of a 95km, 132KV double circuit line from Nooriabad to Karachi was completed in January 2018 at a cost of Rs 2,000 million. The STDC is transmitting 100 MW to the K-Electric system, he said.

Talking about the reports on handing over of Hyderabad and Sukkur electric supply companies to the provincial government, Madni said the government would look into their liabilities before taking over the two power companies.

In the solar energy sector, he said, the Sindh government completed some off-grid energy projects as a pilot project between 2014 and 2016. These included the electrification of 350 schools in Nangarparkar taluka in Tharparkar district, 140 houses in Sanghar district and five villages in Ghotki district.

More IPPs are working on the production of solar power, he said and added that at least two companies are working on the production of 100 MW at Gharo. At least three projects of solar power with a generating capacity of 150 MW are under construction.

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

He said that five coalfield 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 one used at an earlier plant which was installed by nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand. The coal used in this method would be extracted through open-pit mining, he explained.

Talking about replacing 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 imported fuel should be reduced to save foreign exchange.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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