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Sindh government is going to set up the first ever '400 MW Solar Power Park' in District Jamshoro under its World Bank supported 'Sindh Solar Energy Project (SSEP), through auctions.

Project Director (PD) SSEP Mehfooz Ahmad Qazi told Business Recorder that the project had four phases. In the initial phase, a competitive bidding was likely to be held for 50MW solar power park at Manjhand, District Jamshoro, next month, he added.

He hoped the project would be completed by the mid of 2021, with brining around $250 million investment in the province. "The solar power auctions would be carried out in line with best international practices," he said.

The project feasibility studies including environmental and grid connection studies have been carried out by the Sindh Energy Department.

He said locational studies were being carried out with technical assistance of the World Bank to identify the least cost economically viable solar project sites in the province for establishment of solar power parks.

The initial estimates of the study revealed that 4,275MW renewable energy can be supplied from the Sindh to meet the 25 percent renewable energy target by 2025.

The contract agreement for the services of transaction advisor for development of the park was singed here on Friday by Sindh Energy Department with local and international consortium comprising Bridge Factor (Pakistan) and Tractebel ENGIE (Germany) in association with Renewable Resources Limited (Pakistan), Pakistan, Ashurst Law (Singapore) and Axis Law (Pakistan).

Mehfooz A Qazi signed the agreement on behalf of the Govt of Sindh and the consortium team was lead by A K Bilgrami at Energy Department Sindh. The Minister for Energy witnessed the ceremony.

Under the project, a sustainable cost-effective competitive bidding scheme to deploy solar PV plants in the province would be developed and piloted. This project will also have a wider relevance for the whole of Pakistan for the development of competitive bidding schemes.

The SSEP has been initiated by the Energy Department Govt of Sindh with the financial and technical support of the WB.

The objective of the project is to scale-up of solar power in Sindh province and increase access to electricity, & fulfill international commitments on climate change through various modes solar power deployment.

Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh said Sindh would promote clean and cheap energy for the socio-economic uplift of the country.

The minister informed that currently, the share of renewable energy in Pakistan's energy mix was minimal whereas other developing countries had set ambitious targets to enhance the share of renewable energy sources. Being indigenous, clean, and economical resource having short gestation period, renewable energy projects are considered most viable option for import substitution, reducing basket price of energy and to offset the environmental impacts of fossil fuels.

After the signing of the ceremony the kick-off meeting chaired by the Project Director through conference call attended by the WB Project team based in Washington DC and the Foreign and local consultants based in Germany and Islamabad.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019